Journal of behavioral assessment

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 89–97

Measurement of state and trait anxiety in elderly mental health clients

  • Roger L. Patterson
  • Michael J. O'Sullivan
  • Charles D. Spielberger
Article

Abstract

Anxiety in elderly persons is frequently discussed but rarely measured. Difficulties in measuring state and trait anxiety with mental health clients aged 55 and older using the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) led the authors to validate the use of the simpler, children's form of their scale. Four types of validity data were found: (1) the childrens' form was highly correlated with the adult form, (2) both scales were significantly correlated with objective ratings of anxiety made by staff, (3) the STAI measures were not correlated with behavioral ratings other than anxiety (discriminant validity), (4) the residential clients were significantly higher in A-trait than the day clients. The nonresidential clients were not more anxious than college students. Discussion emphasizes the necessity of distinguishing between and measuring both state and trait anxiety in order to understand anxiety in the elderly.

Key words

state and trait anxiety anxiety gerontology personality in the elderly 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger L. Patterson
    • 1
  • Michael J. O'Sullivan
    • 1
  • Charles D. Spielberger
    • 1
  1. 1.University of South Florida and The Florida Mental Health InstituteTampa

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