The nature and prevalence of anxiety disorders in primary care

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 1998 Jan;20(1):21-8. doi: 10.1016/s0163-8343(97)00096-0.


Primary goals of this study were to 1) establish the prevalence, nature, and correlates of anxiety disorders in primary care, and 2) examine the comorbidity of anxiety disorders with major depressive disorder. A weighted sample of 425 patients drawn from the waiting rooms of primary care physicians was used. Anxiety disorders were highly prevalent, relatively mild, and often comorbid with depression. Anxiety disorders aided physicians in their detection of depression. However, anxiety disorders were also misdiagnosed as depression. Although anxiety disorders are common in primary care, their relative mildness may generally not warrant increased attention by primary care physicians to detection and treatment. Instead, efforts should be focused on the more severe and impairing cases of anxiety disorder.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales