Background: The latest version of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-Y) is commonly used in older adults, even though this anxiety scale was developed in and for young adults. Norms and associated factors of the STAI-Y are lacking for older adults in the general population. The objectives of the present study were to produce norms on the STAI-Y State scale for older adults using a large sample of older adults selected from a general population and to examine the sociodemographic and health-related factors associated with the STAI-Y State score.
Methods: 993 community-dwelling individuals aged 66 years and over from the PAQUID study were evaluated at home by a psychologist for the following variables: age, education, marital status, proximity of relatives, self-assessment of income sufficiency, occupation during active life, depressive symptomatology, objective and subjective health, objective and subjective cognitive functioning, adverse life events, activities of daily living, drug use, and cigarette consumption.
Results: Norms were stratified for age, sex, and education and were produced separately for older adults with and without depressive symptomatology. Multivariate analyses revealed that younger age (66–79 years), female sex, lower education, perception of income insufficiency, depressive symptomatology, poor subjective health, subjective cognitive complaints, psychotropic drugs use, and recent adverse life events were independently associated with higher STAI-Y State score.
Conclusions: This study provides norms for the STAI-Y State anxiety inventory in a general population of older adults and indicates the specific factors linked with state anxiety. Such factors should be taken into account by clinicians in order to better understand state anxiety in older adults.