Twenty three percent of the studied older adults, that were available for follow up, with an anxiety disorder met the criteria for persistent anxiety.
Nearly half of the participants demonstrated subsyndromal anxiety, making up the partial remission group, while 31% were in full remission. Drawing on previous literature regarding the fluctuating nature of anxiety disorder in younger patients, the researchers surmise that too much emphasis should not be placed on the difference between persistent anxiety and those in partial remission. At the 6-year-old follow up, more than two-thirds of the subjects suffered from either partial or persistent anxiety, which the researchers note is an unfavorable outcome.
However, when compared to similar studies performed on younger adults, the results are more encouraging, as full remission rates typically only range from 12 to 38%. The results of the study suggest that the outcome of anxiety disorders are different from those of depression, with rates being significantly higher for those suffering from anxiety. Lastly, the researchers found that efforts to enhance appropriate referrals for mental health care for older adults suffering from anxiety were not effective (Schuurman et al., 2005). Limitations of the study were underscored, especially the small sample size and the singular point in time for the follow-up study.
However, alternative answers were not given, other than the possibility that the partial remission results may still be persistently anxious. The researchers recommend future studies to create a larger sample size to identify potential other prognostic factors.
Brief Description of Conclusion:
Schuurman et al. (2005) concluded with the notation that the findings of their research supported an unfavorable long-term outcome for older adults and anxiety, due to the significant percentage that demonstrated a persistent outcome at the 6-year follow up. Yet, they note that no conclusive inferences can be made, since follow-up data was restricted to only one point in time.
Although neuroticism was found to be strongly associated with persistent anxiety, as noted, the researchers recommend future studies to create a larger sample size to identify potential other prognostic factors. They also note that appropriate cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation training, supportive therapy, and cognitive therapy.
Ayres, C., Sorrell, J., Thorp, S., & Wetherell, J. (Mar 2007). Evidence-based psychological treatments for late-life anxiety. Psychology & Aging, 22(1). Retrieved October 30, 2007, from Academic Search Premier database.
Holwerda, T., Schoevers, R., Dekker, J., Deeg, D., Jonker, C., Beekman, a. (Mar 2007). The relationship between generalized anxiety disorder, depression and mortality in old age. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 22(3). Retrieved October 30, 2007, from Academic Search Premier database.
Schuurman, J., Comija, H., Beekman, a., de Beurs, E., Deeg, D., Emmelkamp, P., and van Dyak, R. (2005). The…
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