Incidence of depression and anxiety: the Stirling County Study

Am J Public Health. 1988 May;78(5):534-40. doi: 10.2105/ajph.78.5.534.


Prevalence studies in psychiatric epidemiology out-number incidence investigations by a wide margin. This report gives descriptive information about the incidence of depression and anxiety disorders in a general population. Using data gathered in a 16-year follow-up of an adult sample selected as part of the Stirling County Study (Canada), the incidence of these types of disorders was found to be approximately nine cases per 1,000 persons per year. The data suggest that for every man who became ill for the first time with one of these disorders, three women became ill. Incidence tended to be higher among relatively young persons. These incidence rates are consistent with prevalence rates of approximately 10 per cent to 15 per cent for depression and anxiety disorders aggregated together, given an estimated average duration of illness of about 10 years. It is concluded that these incidence rates are fairly realistic in view of evidence that disorders of these types tend to be chronic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Canada
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / mortality
  • Epidemiologic Methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors