Determinants of barriers to treatment for anxiety disorders

Psychiatr Q. 2010 Jun;81(2):127-38. doi: 10.1007/s11126-010-9123-5.


The objectives of this study were to evaluate perceived unmet need for mental healthcare, determinants of unmet need, and barriers to care in individuals with social anxiety (SA) or panic disorder with agoraphobia (PDA) in Quebec. Data from 206 participants diagnosed with SA or PDA were collected using an online questionnaire. Correlational analyses and binary stepwise logistic regressions were conducted to explore determinants of perceived unmet need. Of the 206 participants, 144 (69.9%) reported instances of unmet need for treatment. Perceived unmet need was correlated with variables related to the severity of the disorder, such as comorbid depression, avoidance, duration of worry, interference with functioning, and time lapsed between the appearance of first symptoms and first consultation. Depression and avoidance emerged as predictors for perceived unmet need in the regression analysis. The most common barriers to treatment reported were concern about the cost of services (63.9%), not knowing where to go to get help (63.2%), lack of health insurance coverage (52.4%), and appointment wait times (52.1%). The results of this study demonstrate the need to overcome barriers to treatment engendered by avoidance behaviors associated with anxiety. Potential methods for achieving this objective include Internet outreach, support groups, and increased accessibility to public services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Care Surveys / methods*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quebec
  • Severity of Illness Index