Connecting chronic stress and anxiety: a multi-dimensional perspective

Psychol Health Med. 2024 Mar;29(3):427-441. doi: 10.1080/13548506.2022.2124292. Epub 2022 Sep 14.


Studies show a connection between anxiety and stress, but with little differentiation between different domains of stress. In this article, we utilize a multi-dimensional approach to better understand the relationship between different chronic stress domains and anxiety. This will allow researchers to identify and address those areas of stress that are most relevant with regard to anxiety. We used data from a sub sample of the LIFE-Adult-Study (n = 1085) to analyze the association between nine different areas of chronic stress (Trier Inventory for Chronic Stress, TICS) and anxiety (General Anxiety Disorder 7, GAD-7), controlling for sociodemographic variables, personality, and social support. There was a significant and positive association between Work Overload, Pressure to Perform, Social Tensions, Social Isolation, Chronic Worrying, and anxiety. After including the control variables, only Work Overload and Chronic Worrying remained significant. By focusing on Work Overload and Chronic Worrying researchers, practitioners, and policy makers can help to mitigate anxiety and related health problems in the population in an efficient way.

Keywords: Chronic stress; GAD-7; TICS; anxiety; public mental health.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Anxiety* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Personality
  • Personality Disorders

Supplementary concepts

  • general anxiety disorder