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J Gerontol Nurs. 2002 Dec;28(12):40-7.

Coping with anxiety in later life.

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Department of Psychology, Florida International University, University Park Campus, Miami, FL 33199, USA.


The goal of this study was to determine how older adults cope with three forms of anxiety, and potential avenues for applied interventions. Although the findings shed light on some interesting findings with potential psychosocial applications, several limitations need to be noted. First, this study was based on two assumptions. The assumption, based on earlier work (Carver et al., 1989; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; Zeidner & Saklofske, 1996), that certain coping strategies are more effective than others, and an assumption of the direction of influence in which anxiety is a precursor of coping strategies. Because this was an exploratory study, the research questions did not directly test these assumptions. Second, this study is correlational in nature. Therefore, conclusions cannot be drawn about the causality of these associations. Third, as with any self-report data and self-selected sample, one needs to interpret the findings with caution. Similarly, for the purposes of the study, a non-clinical sample of older adults was examined using three distinct conceptualizations of anxiety. Suggestions for future research include: Replication of this study using a multidimensional measure of anxiety appropriate for clinical samples. A longitudinal replication of this study identifying patterns of coping that facilitate adjustment over time. Finally, a more general purpose of this study was to focus attention on a neglected issue in gerontology--the experience of anxietY in later life (Frazier & Waid, 1999; Gatz, 1995; Rabins, 1992; Shamoian, 1991; Sheikh, 1992; Smyer, 1995; Stanley & Beck, 1998), and, most importantly, the role of gerontological nurses in early assessment and intervention for successful treatment of anxiety in older adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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