Research has found a strong correlation between worry and mental and physical health. Later stages of life particularly entail increased stress related to multiple health problems, financial matters, etc., which often are associated with increased worry, anxiety and/or depression. In addition, worry has been linked to cognitive decline in the elderly. Our research has demonstrated that specific symptoms of depression (called the DepE) are related to cognitive impairment and can be used to identify a subgroup of individuals at greater risk for developing Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). The goal of this study was to examine the relationship between DepE and worry in an elderly Mexican-American population.
Data was collected from 253 Mexican-Americans (198 women, 60 men) enrolled in the Health and Aging Brain Study among Latino Elders (HABLE), a recently developed community-based study of factors related to aging. The mean age of the sample was 60 years, and the average years of education were 8. Worry was assessed using the Penn State Worry Questionnaire, and DepE was calculated using items from GDS30. The sample was divided into two groups based on DepE scores (high- and low-risk). Independent sample t-test was used to analyze the data.
The independent sample t-test showed a significant difference between the two groups (t = -10.4, p <0.05). Individuals with higher DepE scores have significantly higher scores in the PSWQ (Mean [SD] = 54 ), than those with low DepE scores (32 ). PSWQ items endorsed by the high-risk group include high worry under pressure (57%), an inability to dismiss worry (53%), consciousness about generalized worry (52%), a general tendency to worry (48%), and an inability to control worry (47%).
DepE has been validated in multiple independent cohorts. Higher scores on the DepE are related to poor cognition and diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s disease (4). The results of this study suggest individuals with higher DepE scores have significantly higher worry, almost indicative of Generalized Anxiety Disorder according the PSWQ interpretation. This is consistent with literature linking worry to cognitive decline.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/sid_obryant/3/