Age differences in symptoms of depression and anxiety: Examining behavioral medicine outpatients

Jennifer H. Goldberg, James N. Breckenridge, Javaid I. Sheikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined whether symptoms of depression and concomitant anxiety differed between older and younger medical outpatients referred to a behavioral medicine clinic. In a sample of 178 male veterans aged 21-83 years, older adults (≥60 years) reported lower overall depressive symptoms on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and anxiety symptoms on the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory than did younger adults (<60years). Depressive symptoms were highly prevalent. Among older adults, 60.0% scored 10 or higher on BDI and 33.8% scored 16 or higher. Among younger adults, 70.8% scored 10 or higher on BDI, and 48.7% scored 16 or higher. The age difference in overall depressive symptoms was driven by cognitive-affective symptoms. While older adults had lower cognitive-affective symptoms than did younger adults, the two groups did not differ on somatic-performance symptoms. These results suggest the importance of assessing cognitive-affective depressive symptoms in both older and younger male medical outpatients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-132
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2003



  • Age
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Medical patients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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