Incidence, recurrence and comorbidity of anxiety disorders in four major developmental stages

Cecilia Essau, Peter Lewinsohn, Jie Xin Lim, Moon-Ho R. Ho , Paul Rohde

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Background: Anxiety disorders are common in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, and frequently comorbid with other mental disorders.
Objective: The main aim of the present study was to examine the incidence, recurrence and comorbidity rates of anxiety disorders across four developmental periods, namely, during childhood (5 – 12.9 years), adolescence (13 – 17.9 years), emerging adulthood (18 – 23.9 years), and adulthood (24 – 30 years).
Method: Eight hundred and sixteen participants from a large community sample were interviewed twice during adolescence, at age 24, and at age 30. They completed self-report measures of psychosocial functioning and semi-structured diagnostic interviews during adolescence and adulthood.
Results: The result showed first incidence of anxiety disorders to be significantly higher in childhood and adulthood than in adolescence and emerging adulthood. Female gender was associated with first incidence, but not with recurrence. The magnitude of comorbidity was comparable across the four developmental stages, except for Substance use disorders (SUD) during adolescence. The presence of anxiety disorders during childhood and adolescence was found to significantly increase the probability of having an anxiety disorder during emerging adulthood.
Limitations: The participants are ethically and geographically homogenous.
Conclusion: Incidence and recurrence rates of anxiety disorders differed across the developmental periods, but no difference was found for the comorbidity rates.

© 2017, published by Elsevier. The attached document (embargoed until 07/12/2018) is an author produced version of a paper published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link below. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248–253
Early online date7 Dec 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Dec 2017

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