A cross-sectional study on clinical correlates of anxiety disorders in 613 community living older adults in Hong Kong

Ada Wai Tung Fung*, Linda Chiu Wa Lam

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives: Previous studies have reported that the prevalence of late life anxiety disorders varies between 3.2% and 15.3%. Despite its high prevalence, anxiety disorders are still under-recognized in old age. This study evaluated the association among health, psychosocial factors, lifestyle choices, cognitive function and anxiety disorders in the older population in Hong Kong.

    Methods: Six hundred and thirteen volunteer participants aged 60 years or above were interviewed for their socio-demographic background, physical and mental health statuses, social network, cognitive function and their activity engagement style. Ascertainment of diagnosis of anxiety disorders was based on the use of ICD-10 diagnostic criteria generated by the Revised Clinical Interview Schedule (CIS-R) algorithms.

    Results: According to the ICD-10 diagnostic criteria generated by the CIS-R algorithms, 4.4% (N = 27) had mixed anxiety and depressive disorder, 2.5% (N = 15) had generalized anxiety disorders and 0.2% (N = 1) had other anxiety disorders (Phobia).

    Individuals with anxiety disorders had more gastrointestinal conditions (OR = 2.66, 95% CI 1.48–4.76) and genitourinary problems (OR = 1.96, 95% CI 1.05–3.65), poor 10-min delayed recall (OR = 0.68, 95% CI 0.56–0.83), worse abstract thinking (OR = 0.65, 95% CI 0.49–0.85) and poor social networking in confidante relationship (OR = 0.88, 95% CI 0.79–0.98). Lifestyle activity engagement was not associated with the presence of anxiety disorders.

    Conclusions: Older adults with anxiety disorders appeared to have greater medical comorbidity and lower cognitive function. While anxiety may affect memory performance, future studies are needed to explore if anxiety symptom may reflect early neurodegeneration that easily escapes clinical attention.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)742-749
    Number of pages8
    JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
    Issue number7
    Early online date9 Jun 2016
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


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