Correlates of generalized anxiety disorder: Independent of co-morbidity with depression

Khitam Muhsen, Joshua Lipsitz, Noga Garty-Sandalon, Raz Gross, Manfred S. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a prevalent psychiatric disorder with chronic symptoms and is commonly comorbid with depression. Objectives: To identify correlates of GAD among adults and to describe treatment patterns and functional limitations among individuals with this disorder. Methods: Data for 2,082 subjects aged ≥21 years from the first Israeli national health interview survey (INHIS-1) (2003-2004) were analyzed. Information on GAD was collected using the short form of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Data were also obtained on socio-demographic, physical health characteristics, history of life threatening events, treatment seeking behaviors, use of medication and functional impairment. Results: The prevalence of GAD was highest among people aged 40-59 years, in those with asthma, hypertension and in those with osteoporosis. Regular exercise was associated with reduced prevalence for GAD (adjusted OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.22-0.95). The exclusion of individuals with major depression from analysis strengthened the association with age (adjusted OR 5.7, 95% CI 1.7, 19.7), weakened the association between GAD and osteoporosis (adjusted OR 3.4, 95% CI 1.2, 9.8), asthma (adjusted OR 3.4, 95% CI 1.2, 9.5) and regular exercise (adjusted OR 0.47 95% CI 0.2, 1.14). In this sub-sample, hypertension was no longer associated with GAD, and a significant association was found between GAD and past experience of life threatening events (adjusted OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.1-4.9). Psychiatric and psychological consultations were low among people with GAD (11.5% and 26.4% for those without and with comorbid depression, respectively), concurrent with a high degree of functional limitation. Conclusions: Middle age, history of traumatic life events, and certain chronic medical diseases (e.g., asthma and osteoporosis) are important risk factors for GAD. They could be used to help identify and treat people with GAD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)898-904
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Correlates
  • Epidemiology
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Impairment
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Social Psychology
  • Epidemiology


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