Aging and symptoms of anxiety and depression: Structural invariance of the tripartite model


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Negative affect measures were evaluated in a cross-sectional community sample of adults aged 18–93 (N = 335) to examine the structure of neuroticism, anxiety, and depressive symptoms in young, middle, and older adult cohorts. Structural equation modeling was used to contrast 3 nested models: a 1-factor general distress model; a 2-factor high negative–low positive affect model; and a 3-factor “tripartite model” reflecting a higher order Negative Affect factor that is common to depression and anxiety problems and 2 lower order factors, Low Positive Affect (mostly specific to depression) and Arousal (specific to anxiety/panic). As expected, the tripartite model fit best for all age groups. Further, multigroup analyses indicated age invariance for the tripartite model, suggesting the model can be effectively applied with older populations.