Psychometric properties of a new short version of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) for the assessment of anxiety in the elderly

Neurologia. Jul-Aug 2015;30(6):352-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nrl.2013.12.015. Epub 2014 Jan 28.
[Article in En, Spanish]


Introduction: Anxiety has negative effects on the cognitive performance and psychosocial adjustment of elderly people. Given the high prevalence of anxiety symptoms in patients suffering from cognitive impairment, it has been suggested that these symptoms may be an early marker of dementia. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) is one of the most widely-used scales for evaluating anxiety in elderly people. However, inasmuch as the STAI may be difficult to apply to older people, having a short form of it would be desirable.

Methods: The participants comprised 489 community-dwelling individuals aged 68 years and over. All of them were volunteers in a longitudinal study for early detection of Alzheimer' Disease (Proyecto Vallecas). The full sample was divided in two homogeneous subgroups: Group A, used to reduce the number of items and response options, and Group B, the group used to determine the psychometric properties of the new short form (STAIr).

Results: A dichotomous Rasch model was used to obtain the STAIr. No statistically significant differences for STAIr scores were found with respect to sociodemographic variables. Psychometric properties and normative data were obtained for the new short version.

Conclusions: The STAIr is composed of 13 items and data fits the model well. Since it is short and easy to apply to elderly people, STAIr will be very useful in clinical and research settings.

Keywords: Ageing; Ansiedad; Anxiety; Cognitive impairment; Deterioro cognitivo; Envejecimiento; Evaluación neuropsicológica; Inventario de Ansiedad Estado-Rasgo; Item response theory; Neuropsychological assessment; State-Trait Anxiety Inventory; Teoría de respuesta al ítem.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychometrics*
  • Reproducibility of Results