Comparison of anxiety symptoms in spouses of persons suffering from dementia, geriatric in-patients and healthy older persons
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionKvaal, K., Engedal, K. & Ulstein, I. (2013). Comparison of anxiety symptoms in spouses of persons suffering from dementia, geriatric in-patients and healthy older persons. Vård i Norden 33(4), 4-8.
Objective:To describe and compare anxiety symptoms in spouses of persons suffering from dementia, geriatric in-patients and healthy controls, and to study possible risk factors associated with anxiety in these groups of older people. Method: The participants were 70 years and above: 1) 76 spouses of persons with dementia recruited from a memory clinic, 2) 98 in-patients without dementia but suffering from one or more chronic diseases, who were admitted to a geriatric department of an acute hospital, and 3) 68 healthy elderly people recruited from day-centres. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-X-1, 12-item) was used to tap anxiety symptoms. Results: Spouses of persons suffering from dementia expressed the same degree of anxiety symptoms as geriatric patients, and anxiety in these two groups differed significantly from the healthy elderly persons. In an adjusted linear regression analysis, anxiety, expressed as a high score on STAI-X-1, was associated with female gender (ß 0.16, p=0.01); being a spousal carer (ß 0.49, p <0.001) and being a geriatric patient (ß 0.57, p<0.001). Conclusion: Spouses of persons suffering from dementia reported as much anxiety symptoms as geriatric in-patients and both groups reported significantly more symptoms of anxiety than healthy older persons without caring obligations. The mental health nurses should include assessment of carers’ anxiety as routine.
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