Psychometric properties of worry and anxiety measures in a sample of african american and caucasian older adults

Aging Ment Health. 2020 Feb;24(2):315-321. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2018.1544217. Epub 2019 Feb 27.


Objective: The aim of our study was to examine the psychometric properties of commonly used anxiety and worry assessment measures in a community-based, low-income sample of African American and Caucasian older adults.Method: African American and Caucasian participants from three community-based clinical trials testing treatments for late-life worry/anxiety were pooled to examine the factor structure, internal consistency reliability, and convergent, discriminant, and predictive validity of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire-Abbreviated (PSWQ-A), Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) and Geriatric Anxiety Inventory-short form (GAI-SF).Results: All three measures demonstrated an adequate fit to a one-factor structure. Internal consistency reliability was adequate for the PSWQ-A and GAD-7 in the total sample and racial subgroups but was acceptable for the GAI-SF only in the African American subgroup. The PSWQ-A and GAD-7 demonstrated good convergent, discriminant, and predictive validity. The GAI-SF has adequate convergent and divergent validity in the African American subgroup.Conclusion: Our study offers preliminary evidence for use of the PSWQ-A and GAD-7 for assessment of anxiety in a sample of low-income, predominantly African American participants. These measures may facilitate identification of anxiety symptoms, which are often overlooked in this population. More research is needed to examine the accuracy of these measures in other racial/ethnic groups.

Keywords: African Americans; GAD-7; PSWQ-A; low-income; psychometric properties.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety / ethnology
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Male
  • Poverty
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • White People / psychology*