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Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2018 Nov 12. doi: 10.1002/gps.5023. [Epub ahead of print]

Six-month prevalence and correlates of Generalized Anxiety Disorder among primary care patients aged 70 years and over: Results from the ESA-services study.

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Centre de recherche, Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (CRIUGM), Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Département de psychologie, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Département de psychologie, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
École de psychologie, Université Laval, Quebec, Quebec, Canada.
Département de psychologie, Université de Sherbrooke, Canada.
Département de psychoéducation, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec.
Département des sciences de la santé communautaire, Faculté de Médecine, Université de Sherbrooke, Canada.



To estimate the 6-month prevalence of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in primary care patients aged 70 years and over and to describe their clinical profile, including types of worries.


Participants (N=1193) came from the ESA-services study conducted in Quebec, Canada. An in-person structured interview was used to identify GAD and other anxiety/depressive disorders as well as to identify types of worries. Three groups were created (i.e., patients with GAD, patients with another anxiety disorder, and patients without anxiety disorders) and compared on several sociodemographic and clinical characteristics using multinomial logistic regression analyses.


The 6-month prevalence of GAD was 2.7%. Findings also indicated that the most common types of worries were about health, being a burden for loved ones, and losing autonomy. Compared to respondents without anxiety disorders, older patients with GAD were more likely to be women, be more educated, suffer from depression, use antidepressants, be unsatisfied with their lives, and use health services. In comparison to respondents with another anxiety disorder, those with GAD were 4.5 times more likely to suffer from Minor Depression.


GAD has a high prevalence in primary care patients aged 70 years and over. Clinicians working in primary care settings should screen for GAD, since it remains underdiagnosed. In addition, it may be associated with depression and life dissatisfaction. Screening tools for late-life GAD should include worry themes that are specific to aging.


6-month prevalence; Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD); correlates; epidemiology; older adults; primary care patients


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