Background: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is one of the most
prevalent anxiety disorders among the elderly. Estimates of prevalence
vary from around 3% to 12%, depending on the minimum age considered
and the assessment instruments. The present study tests a GAD-specific
treatment recently validated among adults (Ladouceur et al., 2000) and
adapted for older adults.
Method: Eight older adults (aged from 60 to 7 1) were included in a
single-case experimental multiple-baseline design across subjects.
Assessments were conducted at pre-test, post-test and at 6- and
12-months follow-ups. The treatment consisted of awareness training,
worry interventions and relapse prevention. The worry interventions
targeted intolerance of uncertainty, beliefs about worry,
problem-solving and cognitive avoidance.
Results: According to daily self-monitoring of worry, ADIS-IV ratings
and self-reported questionnaire scores, seven out of eight participants
showed clinically significant improvement at post-test. These
therapeutic gains were maintained at 6- and 12-month follow-ups.
Conclusions: This study shows that a cognitive-behavioral treatment that
targets intolerance of uncertainty, erroneous beliefs about worry, poor
problem orientation and cognitive avoidance is effective for treating
GAD among elderly people.
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