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J Clin Psychiatry. 2011 Jan;72(1):43-50. doi: 10.4088/JCP.09m05094blu. Epub 2010 Aug 24.

Health-related quality of life across the anxiety disorders: results from the national epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions (NESARC).

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Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY 10032, USA.



Although clinical studies have documented that specific anxiety disorders are associated with impaired psychosocial functioning, little is known regarding their comparative effects on health-related quality of life within a general population. The current analysis compares health-related quality of life in a US community-dwelling sample of adults with DSM-IV social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorders (GAD), panic disorder, and specific phobia.


A face-to-face survey of a US nationally representative sample of over 43,000 adults aged 18 years and older residing in households and group quarters was conducted. Prevalence of DSM-IV anxiety disorders and relative associations with health-related quality of life indicators were examined. The survey was conducted from 2001 to 2002.


Roughly 9.8% of respondents met diagnostic criteria for at least 1 of 4 twelve-month DSM-IV anxiety disorders which, relative to the non-anxiety-disordered general population, were each associated with lower personal income, increased rates of 12-month physical conditions, and greater numbers of Axis I and Axis II DSM-IV psychiatric conditions. After adjusting for sociodemographic and clinical correlates, including other anxiety disorders, GAD was associated with significant decrements in the SF-12 mental component summary score. In similar models, GAD and, to a lesser extent, panic disorder were significantly associated with impairment in social functioning, role emotional, and mental health SF subscales.


GAD, followed by panic disorder, appears to exact significant and independent tolls on health-related quality of life. Results underscore the importance of prompt and accurate clinical identification and improving access to effective interventions for these disorders.

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