Background: Studies that examined the prevalence of anxiety in older adults with cardiovascular diseases (CVD) were mainly conducted in clinical settings limiting the generalizability of the results to community-based samples. Moreover, among older adults with CVD, little is known about the prevalence of subthreshold anxiety and about which characteristics differentiate those with subthreshold anxiety from those having an anxiety disorder. This study aimed at determining the 12-month prevalence rates of subthreshold and threshold anxiety in community-dwelling older adults with CVD as well as to examine whether older people with CVD reporting an anxiety disorder differ from their counterparts with subthreshold anxiety.
Method: From a representative sample of community-dwelling older adults aged 65years and older (N=2811), 613 cases of CVD were identified based on government medical records. Subthreshold and threshold anxiety were assessed using in-home interviews based on the DSM-IV criteria.
Results: The 12-month prevalence rates of anxiety disorders and subthreshold anxiety were, respectively, 5.1 and 14.8%. Compared to older adults with CVD reporting no anxiety, individuals reporting subthreshold or threshold anxiety are more likely to be women, to have high blood pressure, and to suffer from a depression.
Limitations: No information was gathered regarding alcohol and tobacco use.
Conclusions: The present study provides evidence for the fact that subthreshold anxiety has a high prevalence among community-dwelling older people with CVD and that clinicians working with this population should screen for anxiety, even at a subthreshold level, since it may be associated with high blood pressure and depression.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.