The assessment of anxiety in aged care residents: A systematic review of the psychometric properties of commonly used measures

Alexandra S. Creighton, Tanya E. Davison, David W. Kissane

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Assessing anxiety among residential aged care facility (RACF) residents is challenging, and it cannot be assumed that valid and reliable measures used within the community are also appropriate for this setting. This review systematically examined the literature to identify which anxiety measures were most commonly used with older adults in RACFs, and determine whether psychometric data support their use within this population.Methods: Using the PRISMA guidelines, five electronic databases were searched using key terms and subject headings. The search was limited to literature published in English. Eligible studies utilized an anxiety measure to assess anxiety symptoms among RACF residents. Based on the findings of this search, a critical review of the research into the reliability, validity, and administrative and respondent burden of the most commonly used measures (i.e. used in four or more studies) was conducted.Results: In total, 1,771 articles were identified, with 50 studies included in this review. Overall, 22 measures were used, with the majority of studies utilizing a clinician-administered or self-report measure. The RAID, HADS, STAI, and GAI were the most commonly used measures. While overall there is a lack of research and consensus into the psychometric properties of these measures within RACFs, strongest evidence of reliability and validity was found for the GAI.Conclusion: Commonly used measures of anxiety within aged care populations are not well validated for this complex subsample of older adults. Strengths and weaknesses of each measure with regards to their usefulness in aged care settings are discussed, with future research areas highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)967-979
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Psychogeriatrics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • anxiety
  • assessment
  • assessment measures
  • long-term care
  • nursing home
  • residential aged care
  • screening

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