Frequency, comorbidity, and psychosocial impairment of anxiety disorders in German adolescents

J Anxiety Disord. 2000 May-Jun;14(3):263-79. doi: 10.1016/s0887-6185(99)00039-0.


The frequency, comorbidity, and psychosocial impairment of anxiety disorders among German adolescents was estimated from a survey of 1,035 students aged 12-17 years. The adolescents were randomly selected from 36 schools in the province of Bremen, Germany. Anxiety disorders and other psychiatric disorders were coded based on criteria from the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, using the computerized Munich version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Anxiety disorders occurred frequently in our sample of adolescents, with a rate of 18.6%. When considering the subtypes of anxiety disorders, phobia was the most common. Posttraumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder occurred less frequently with rates below 2%. Panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder were the least common, with rates well below 1%. Anxiety disorders were significantly higher in girls than in boys, and that the rates increased with age. Comorbidity occurs quite frequently, both within the anxiety disorders and also with other psychiatric disorders. The most common pattern of comorbidity was that of anxiety and depressive disorders. Although a high number of anxiety cases were psychosocially impaired, at least during the worst episode of their disorders, only a few of them sought treatment for their problems. We conclude by discussing some research priorities in the area of anxiety disorders in children and adolescents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Phobic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Phobic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology