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Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2008 Mar;16(3):186-93. doi: 10.1097/JGP.0b013e3181591c1e.

Feelings of anxiety and symptoms of depression in community-living older persons who avoid activity for fear of falling.

Author information

1
Maastricht University, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht, The Netherlands. j.vanhaastregt@zw.unimaas.nl

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The objectives of this cross-sectional study were to assess the presence of feelings of anxiety and symptoms of depression among older persons who avoid activity for fear of falling and to assess whether feelings of anxiety and symptoms of depression are independently associated with the severity of fear of falling and fear-related activity avoidance.

DESIGN:

This is a cross-sectional study.

SETTING:

Data were collected at two urban areas south of The Netherlands.

PARTICIPANTS:

Participants included 540 community-living people aged 70 years or older who reported fear of falling and associated activity avoidance.

MEASUREMENTS:

Data were collected by means of self-administered questionnaires.

RESULTS:

This study shows that 28.2% and 26.1% of the persons with severe fear of falling had feelings of anxiety and symptoms of depression, respectively. These rates were 28.5% and 22.6% for participants with severe fear-related activity avoidance. Multivariate analyses revealed that participants with severe fear of falling were more likely to have feelings of anxiety and symptoms of depression than those with mild fear of falling. Furthermore, persons who reported severe fear-related activity avoidance were more likely to have feelings of anxiety than mild avoiders.

CONCLUSIONS:

Feelings of anxiety and symptoms of depression are common in persons with severe fear of falling and fear-related activity avoidance. Professional care providers should be alert to underlying anxiety disorders and depression in this category of older persons in the interests of providing optimum treatment.

PMID:
18310549
DOI:
10.1097/JGP.0b013e3181591c1e
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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