Details of Publication 348 for Project A094:

Koloski N, Smith N, Pachana N & Dobson A. Performance of the Goldberg Anxiety and Depression Scale in older women. Age & Ageing, 2008; 37(4): 464-467

Background: Measures to assess anxiety and depression separately often incur difficulties due to overlap of these constructs, especially in older individuals. Using the Goldberg Anxiety and Depression Scale (GADS) we aimed to confirm the factor structure of the instrument in a large cohort of older Australian women, to validate the instrument against other self-report information, and to assess its association with a variety of health-related outcomes. Methods: Participants were 7264 women (aged 75-82 years) enrolled in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Measures of anxiety and depression included the GADS, the mental health items of the Medical Outcomes Study SF-36, and self reported information on mental health diagnoses, symptoms and medications. The factor structure of the scale was examined using latent trait analysis, while receiver operating characteristic curves were used to explore the performance of the scale against other criteria. Results: Latent trait analyses replicated prior findings demonstrating high correlations between anxiety and depression as measured by the GADS and suggesting a third factor related to sleeping problems. Receiver operating characteristic curves showed that a simple score formed by summing responses to GADS items had high sensitivity and specificity in relation to other measures of anxiety and depression. Conclusions: This large study provides support for the hypothesis that anxiety and depression are not readily distinguishable entities in older women and that the GADS is a useful tool for measuring the composite construct for epidemiological studies.

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