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Can J Psychiatry. 2012 Aug;57(8):479-87.

Common and unique risk factors and comorbidity for 12-month mood and anxiety disorders among Canadians.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.



To explore the common and unique risk factors for mood and anxiety disorders. What sociodemographic, psychological, and physical risk factors are associated with mood and anxiety disorders and their comorbidities? What is the impact of multiple risk factors?


Data from the Canadian Community Health Survey: Mental Health and Well-Being were analyzed. Appropriate sampling weights and bootstrap variance estimation were employed. Multiple logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios and confidence intervals.


The annual prevalence of any mood disorder was 5.2%, and of any anxiety disorder 4.7%. Major depressive episode was the most prevalent mood and anxiety disorder (4.8%), followed by social phobia, panic disorder, mania, and agoraphobia. Among people with mood and anxiety disorders, 22.4% had 2 or more disorders. Risk factors common to mood and anxiety disorders were being young, having lower household income, being unmarried, experiencing greater stress, having poorer mental health, and having a medical condition. Unique risk factors were found: major depressive episode and social phobia were associated with being born in Canada; panic disorder was associated with being Caucasian; lower education was associated with panic and agoraphobia; and poor physical health was associated with mania and agoraphobia. People who were young, unmarried, not fully employed, and had a medical condition, greater stress, poorer self-rated mental health, and dissatisfaction with life, were more likely to have a comorbid mood and (or) anxiety disorder. As the number of common risk factors increases, the probability of having mood and anxiety disorders also increases.


Common and unique risk factors exist for mood and anxiety disorders. Risk factors are additive in increasing the likelihood of disease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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