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Psychiatry Res. 2011 Aug 15;188(3):383-9. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2011.05.018. Epub 2011 Jun 8.

GAD is good? Generalized anxiety disorder predicts a superior five-year outcome following an acute coronary syndrome.

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School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, and Black Dog Institute, Hospital Rd, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, NSW 2031, Australia.


While differing anxiety disorders have been reported to have quite variable impact on outcome following an acute coronary syndrome (ACS), a recent study quantified generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) as having a distinctly negative impact. We examined anxiety disorder status at baseline for any differential five-year impact on cardiac outcome following initial hospitalization for an ACS in 489 subjects. Of those initially assessed, 89% were examined at a five-year review. There were non-significant trends for all non-GAD anxiety disorders to be associated with a worse cardiac outcome. Meeting GAD criteria (both at baseline assessment and over the subjects' lifetime) was associated with a superior five-year cardiac outcome, particularly in the sub-set of those experiencing GAD as their only anxiety disorder, and after controlling for depression and medical comorbidities. As our results are at distinct variance with two previous studies specifically examining the impact of GAD on outcome in cardiac patients, we consider methodological and other explanations. We conclude that, if our findings are valid, then they may more reflect GAD patients having a 'constructive worrying' capacity and therefore being more likely to seek help in response to less severe somatic symptoms and to also be more adherent with cardiac rehabilitation programs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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