Health-related quality of life across the anxiety disorders: results from the national epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions (NESARC)

J Clin Psychiatry. 2011 Jan;72(1):43-50. doi: 10.4088/JCP.09m05094blu. Epub 2010 Aug 24.


Objective: Although clinical studies have documented that specific anxiety disorders are associated with impaired psychosocial functioning, little is known regarding their comparative effects on health-related quality of life within a general population. The current analysis compares health-related quality of life in a US community-dwelling sample of adults with DSM-IV social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorders (GAD), panic disorder, and specific phobia.

Method: A face-to-face survey of a US nationally representative sample of over 43,000 adults aged 18 years and older residing in households and group quarters was conducted. Prevalence of DSM-IV anxiety disorders and relative associations with health-related quality of life indicators were examined. The survey was conducted from 2001 to 2002.

Results: Roughly 9.8% of respondents met diagnostic criteria for at least 1 of 4 twelve-month DSM-IV anxiety disorders which, relative to the non-anxiety-disordered general population, were each associated with lower personal income, increased rates of 12-month physical conditions, and greater numbers of Axis I and Axis II DSM-IV psychiatric conditions. After adjusting for sociodemographic and clinical correlates, including other anxiety disorders, GAD was associated with significant decrements in the SF-12 mental component summary score. In similar models, GAD and, to a lesser extent, panic disorder were significantly associated with impairment in social functioning, role emotional, and mental health SF subscales.

Conclusions: GAD, followed by panic disorder, appears to exact significant and independent tolls on health-related quality of life. Results underscore the importance of prompt and accurate clinical identification and improving access to effective interventions for these disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Data Collection
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology