The goal of this study was to determine the prevalence and correlates of anxiety disorders among empty-nest older adults in Sichuan Province, China.
The study population consisted of 352 subjects over the age of 60 who completed the Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS), the Geriatric Depression Scale-Short Form (GDS-SF), the University of California, Los Angeles, Loneliness Scale (UCLA-LS), and the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) questionnaires. The socio-demographic information, information on the subjects' general health, and their level of concern about health problems were obtained from self-reports.
In the study population, 30.11% of the empty-nest older adults showed anxiety-related symptoms or anxiety disorders, with a standardized score of 44.53 ± 11.01. The levels of anxiety were significantly different in terms of the patients' gender, educational level, occupation, residence, marital status, and income, but not in terms of their age. Patient anxiety had a significantly positive association with depression and loneliness but had a significantly negative association with the MMSE scores. Multiple regression analysis revealed that patients with depression, loneliness, and cognitive impairment, as well as patients who were female, living in rural areas, or living alone were at risk for anxiety disorders.
Anxiety prevails among the empty-nest older adults in Sichuan Province and is mainly associated with health-related characteristics. Physicians should give special attention to older adults with depression, loneliness, and cognitive impairments, especially to women who live alone in rural areas.