How prevalent are anxiety disorders in schizophrenia? A meta-analysis and critical review on a significant association

Schizophr Bull. 2011 Jul;37(4):811-21. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbp148. Epub 2009 Dec 3.


Objective: The presence of anxiety disorders (AD) in schizophrenia (SZ) is attracting increasing interest. However, published studies have yielded very broad variations in prevalence rates across studies. The current meta-analysis sought to (1) investigate the prevalence of co-occurring AD in SZ by reporting pooled prevalence rates and (2) identify potential sources of variations in reported rates that could guide our efforts to identify and treat these co-occurring disorders in patients with SZ.

Methods: We performed a systematic search of studies reporting prevalence of AD in SZ and related psychotic disorders. Mean prevalence rates and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were first computed for each disorder. We then examined the impact of potential moderators related to patient sampling or to AD assessment methods on these rates.

Results: Fifty-two eligible studies were identified. Pooled prevalence rates and CIs were 12.1% (7.0%-17.1%) for obsessive-compulsive disorders, 14.9% (8.1%-21.8%) for social phobia, 10.9% (2.9%-18.8%) for generalized AD, 9.8% (4.3%-15.4%) for panic disorders, and 12.4% (4.0%-20.8%) for post-traumatic stress disorders. For all disorders, we found significant heterogeneity in rates across studies. This heterogeneity could at least partially be explained by the effect of moderator variables related to patient characteristics or assessment methods.

Conclusions: AD are highly prevalent in SZ, but important variations in rates are observed between studies. This meta-analysis highlights several factors that affect risk for, or detection of AD in SZ, and could, thus, have an important impact on treatment and outcome of SZ patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agoraphobia / diagnosis
  • Agoraphobia / epidemiology
  • Agoraphobia / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology
  • Panic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Panic Disorder / epidemiology
  • Panic Disorder / psychology
  • Phobic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Phobic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology
  • Psychotic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychotic Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology