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Although fear of falling is prevalent among older adults recovering from hip fracture, current instruments are inadequate due to focus on specific situations and measurement of self-efficacy rather than fear.
The authors revised and tested a form of the Fear of Falling Questionnaire with three groups of older adults: 405 recovering from hip fracture, 89 healthy community dwelling, and 42 with severe fear of falling. Test-retest reliability was evaluated in a subsample of 16 hip fracture patients. Internal consistency was compared across all groups. Construct validity was established through factor analysis, convergent validity with a measure of fall-related self-efficacy, and discriminant validity with measures of depression and affect.
A revised two-factor, six-item scale appears to have adequate psychometric properties. Scores were lower in the healthy comparison group relative to the hip fracture and fear of falling groups. Cronbach's α ranged from 0.72–0.83, with test-retest reliability of 0.82. Correlations with a measure of fall-related self-efficacy were moderate for the hip fracture group (0.42) and high with the healthy comparison (0.68) and fear of falling (0.70) groups. Correlations with depression and negative and positive affect were low to moderate.
The Fear of Falling Questionnaire – Revised shows promise as a self-report measure of fear of falling, and is one of the first to be tested in older adults recovering from hip fracture. Advantages are that it is global rather than situation-specific and measures fear rather than self-efficacy. Future research on this scale is recommended in other older adult samples for whom fear of falling is relevant.
Some data suggest that older adults with anxiety disorders do not respond as well to treatment as do younger adults.
We examined age differences in outcomes from the Coordinated Anxiety Learning and Management (CALM) study, an effectiveness trial comparing usual care to a computer-assisted collaborative care intervention for primary care patients with panic disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and/or social anxiety disorder. This is the first study to examine the efficacy of a collaborative care intervention in a sample that included both younger and older adults with anxiety disorders. We hypothesised that older adults would show a poorer response to the intervention than younger adults.
We examined findings for the overall sample, as well as within each diagnostic category (clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT00347269).
The CALM intervention was more effective than usual care among younger adults overall and for those with generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder and social anxiety disorder. Among older adults, the intervention was effective overall and for those with social anxiety disorder and PTSD but not for those with panic disorder or generalised anxiety disorder. The effects of the intervention also appeared to erode by the 18-month follow-up, and there were no significant effects on remission among the older adults.
These results are consistent with the findings of other investigators suggesting that medications and psychotherapy for anxiety disorders may not be as effective for older individuals as they are for younger people.
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