Background Early detection of anxiety symptoms in older people is capital as it may be linked to increased physical/functional disabilities, onset and progression of neurodegenerative disorders, and poor cognitive functioning. Nonetheless, there is a paucity of psychometrically validated anxiety measures in the elderly. Aims This study aimed at assessing the psychometric properties of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-Form Y (STAI-Y) and providing the first normative data for the Italian elderly population. Methods The sample included 361 individuals aged 65–94. All subjects underwent the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), and the state (S-Anxiety) and trait anxiety (T-anxiety) scales of the STAI-Y. Results The S-Anxiety and T-Anxiety scales showed reliable internal consistency and, overall, good item characteristics. Divergent validity was “apparently” threatened, with S-Anxiety scale correlating with MMSE and GDS, and T-Anxiety scale only with GDS. The principal component analysis revealed a three-factor solution for both scales, i.e., presence and absence of state (or trait) anxiety, and performance anxiety. Since no effect of sociodemographic variables was found, unadjusted cutoffs were provided. Conclusions Although some questions on the psychometric properties of the STAI-Y remain unanswered, this normative study can help clinicians and researchers to monitor anxiety levels in the Italian elderly population.
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