Assessment of Anxiety in Older Adults: Translation and Psychometric Evaluation of the German Version of the Geriatric Anxiety Scale (GAS)

  • Juliana Gottschling
  • Daniel L. Segal
  • Claudia Häusele
  • Frank M. Spinath
  • Gundula Stoll


Anxiety occurs frequently among older adults, and can have deleterious impacts on the quality of daily life. Due to the dearth of well-validated elder-specific anxiety screening instruments available in the German language, this study aimed to translate the Geriatric Anxiety Scale (GAS), a reliable and valid 30-item self-report screening instrument for assessing anxiety based on DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria (Segal et al. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 24(7), 709–714, 2010a), into German, and to validate the new measure. The German version of the GAS was developed through a translation and back translation process, with careful attention paid to culturally-sensitive expressions of anxiety in the German older adult population. The final version of the German GAS was tested in a sample of 242 community-dwelling older adults (Mage = 72.0 years, SD = 6.9 years; 59 % women) who completed either an online (26 %) or a paper-pencil (74 %) version of the questionnaire. The findings confirmed the successful translation of the GAS into German and provided psychometric support for the new measure. The validation of the factor structure based on confirmatory factor analyses was in support of a unidimensional structure of the GAS-G. Correlational analyses with inventories measuring anxiety related and non-anxiety related personality traits additionally confirmed the convergent and discriminant validity of the GAS for use as an assessment measure for anxiety among German older adults.


Anxiety Aging Assessment Screening GAS Geriatric anxiety scale 



We gratefully thank Cynthia Mech and Christine Waegner from Saarland University for their help in collecting and preparing the data. We also thank Octavia Harrison from Saarland University for her support in the back translation process, as well as Prof. Dr. Oliver K. Schilling from Heidelberg University and Dr. Sonja Römer from Saarland University for their evaluation of the appropriateness of the German GAS items.

The GAS is available for free for research purposes and may be obtained from either Dr. Gottschling ( or Dr. Segal (

Conflict of Interest

Juliana Gottschling, Daniel Segal, Claudia Häusele, Gundula Stoll, and Frank Spinath declare that they do not have any interests that might have influenced this research. The same work (or closely related research) has not been published or accepted for publication elsewhere. It will not be submitted elsewhere prior to Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment making an editorial decision. No other papers using the same data set have been published. The article has been approved by all of the authors and by the institutions at which the work was carried out. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. I have assumed responsibility for keeping my coauthors informed of our progress through the editorial review process, the content of the reviews, and any revisions made.

Experiment Participants

The procedures, protocol, and informed consent in the present study were approved by the Institutional Review Board of Saarland University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologySaarland UniversitySaarbrueckenGermany
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Colorado at Colorado SpringsColorado SpringsUSA
  3. 3.Hector Research Institute of Education Sciences and PsychologyUniversity of TuebingenTuebingenGermany

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