Epidemiology of Anxiety Disorders

Ronald C. Kessler, Ayelet Meron Ruscio, Katherine Shear and Hans-Ulrich Wittchen

in Oxford Handbook of Anxiety and Related Disorders

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780195307030
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Epidemiology of Anxiety Disorders

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  • Clinical Psychology



This chapter reviews the results of community epidemiological surveys concerning the descriptive epidemiology of anxiety disorders, with a focus on lifetime prevalence, age-of-onset, persistence, and comorbidity. Anxiety disorders are found to be very common despite current DSM and ICD criteria underestimating many clinically significant cases. Anxiety disorders often have early age-of-onset and high comorbidity. They typically are temporally primary to the disorders with which they are comorbid. Young people with anxiety disorders seldom receive treatment prior to the onset of secondary conditions. The chapter closes with a discussion of the importance of long-term studies to determine whether early treatment of primary anxiety disorders would influence the subsequent onset and course of secondary disorders.

Keywords: agoraphobia; anxiety disorder; epidemiology; generalized anxiety disorder; obsessive-compulsive disorder; panic disorder; phobia; posttraumatic stress disorder; separation anxiety disorder; World Mental Health (WMH) surveys

Article.  11913 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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