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. 2016 Jul 19;16:248.
doi: 10.1186/s12888-016-0946-y.

Long-term Disability in Anxiety Disorders

Free PMC article

Long-term Disability in Anxiety Disorders

Sanne M Hendriks et al. BMC Psychiatry. .
Free PMC article


Background: This longitudinal study aims to investigate differences in long-term disability between social anxiety disorder (SAD), panic disorder with agoraphobia (PDA), panic disorder without agoraphobia (PD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and multiple anxiety disorders (multiple AD), focusing on the effects of different course trajectories (remission, recurrence and chronic course) and specific symptom dimensions (anxiety arousal and avoidance behaviour).

Methods: Data were used from participants with no psychiatric diagnosis (healthy controls, n = 647) or with a current anxiety disorder (SAD, n = 191; PDA, n = 90; PD, n = 84; GAD, n = 110; multiple AD, n = 480). Severity of anxiety arousal and avoidance behaviour symptoms was measured using the Beck Anxiety Inventory and the Fear Questionnaire. The World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule II was used to measure disability.

Results: Long-term disability was most prevalent in participants with SAD and multiple AD, and lowest in PDA and PD. GAD had an intermediate position. Anxiety arousal and avoidance behaviour were associated with more long-term disability in anxiety disorders than course trajectories.

Conclusions: Various anxiety disorders have different disability levels over 4 years of time, therefore diagnostic distinction is important for treatment focus. Anxiety arousal and avoidance behaviour are major predictors for long-term disability in anxiety disorders.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Flowchart of study sample
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Disability (total score WHODAS-II) over 4 years of time for baseline psychiatric status (n = 1235) *

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