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Cognitive-behavioral treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) for older adults

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mark FreestonORCiD


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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.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ladouceur R, Leger E, Dugas M, Freeston MH

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Psychogeriatrics

Year: 2004

Volume: 16

Issue: 2

Pages: 195-207

Print publication date: 01/01/2004

ISSN (print): 1041-6102

ISSN (electronic): 1741-203X

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S1041610204000274


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