Specific Phobias in Older Adults: Investigation into the Age Effects of Treatment and Psychophysiological Response

Madeline Farmer (). Specific Phobias in Older Adults: Investigation into the Age Effects of Treatment and Psychophysiological Response Professional Doctorate, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Madeline Farmer
Thesis Title Specific Phobias in Older Adults: Investigation into the Age Effects of Treatment and Psychophysiological Response
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Thesis type Professional Doctorate
Supervisor Professor Nancy Pachana
Total pages 137
Language eng
Subjects 170101 Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Physiological Psychology)
170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing
Abstract/Summary Existing literature in the area of late-life anxiety is fairly minimal, and has thus far been predominantly limited to Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. Moreover, this literature generally suggests that older adults experience attenuated treatment responses, though currently no clear explanation for these findings has been offered. When considering other anxiety disorders, there is some research on specific phobias, and this thesis seeks to go beyond existing literature and investigate the psychophysiological component of phobias in older adults. Initially, age-related treatment effects of a manualised specific phobia treatment program were investigated. Results revealed that older adults self-report lower baseline levels of phobic severity and avoidance, but that their treatment response was similar in magnitude to mid-aged adults. Following this, the psychophysiological reaction of younger and older adults to exposure to a phobic object before and after treatment was examined. Results indicated that older adults exhibit lower baseline Skin Conductance Responses, as well as an attenuated treatment response. Potential explanations for this age effect and for the discrepancy between self-report and physiological measures are discussed, and clinical implications and future research opportunities are subsequently proposed.
Keyword specific phobias
Older Adults
Psychophysiological Responses
Age Effects
Treatment

 
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Created: Sun, 13 Apr 2014, 20:54:41 EST by Madeline Farmer on behalf of Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences