Age, anxiety, and self reported health

R. R. McCrae, P. T. Bartone, P. T. Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


A sample of 472 normal males ranging in age from 25 to 82 was divided into anxious and adjusted groups on the basis of a cluster analysis of the Cattell 16PF test, and compared for scores on a self report measure of health. While the anxious men reported more symptoms than the adjusted in the young and middle age groups, there was no difference in the old group. Although anxiety was found to be unrelated to health as evaluated by physicians' examinations, the anxious men indeed reported more health problems in 8 minor areas of health concern than was warranted by their actual physical health status. This relation also did not hold in the old group. Anxious men seemed to be more vigilant about their health in young and middle age groups, but not in the old group. This was interpreted as a defensive denial of symptoms in the old anxious group; for a person with trait anxiety, anxiety about approaching death and increasing health problems is just too much to bear, and he resorts to denying symptoms in an effort to diminish his anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-58
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1976
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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