Anxiety Affects Seniors' Self-Reported Functioning

But researchers find it makes no difference in objective measures of physical performance

TUESDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Patients in their 70s who report anxiety symptoms are more likely to have self-reported declines in physical functioning over five years, but not a decline in objective measurements of physical performance, compared to patients without anxiety, according to the results of a study published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Kala M. Mehta, D.Sc., of the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues conducted a five-year study of 2,940 adults aged 70 to 79 (48 percent male, 41 percent black) who were initially free of self-reported mobility difficulty.

The researchers found that anxiety symptoms were not associated with declines in objectively measured physical performance but were associated with declines in self-reported functioning. They found that adults with anxiety symptoms were more likely to report new problems with mobility (hazard ratio, 1.4) than adults without anxiety symptoms.

"Future studies are needed to determine why anxiety has a differential effect on performance-based and self-reported measures of functioning," the authors conclude.

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