The lifetime prevalence and impact of generalized anxiety disorders in an epidemiologic Italian National Survey carried out by clinicians by means of semi-structured interviews

Antonio Preti, Roberto Demontis, Giulia Cossu, Goce Kalcev, Federico Cabras, Maria Francesca Moro, Ferdinando Romano, Matteo Balestrieri, Filippo Caraci, Liliana Dell’Osso, Guido Di Sciascio, Filippo Drago, Maria Carolina Hardoy, Rita Roncone, Carlo Faravelli, Cesar Ivan Aviles Gonzalez, Matthias Angermayer, Mauro Giovanni Carta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is one of the most reported diagnoses in psychiatry, but there is some discrepancy between the cases identified in community studies and those identified in tertiary care. This study set out to evaluate whether the use of clinicians as interviewers may provide estimates in a community survey close to those observed in primary or specialized care. Methods: This is a community survey on a randomly selected sample of 2338 adult subjects. The Advanced Neuropsychiatric Tools and Assessment Schedule (ANTAS) was administered by clinicians, providing lifetime diagnosis based on the DSM-IV-TR. Health-related quality of life (HR-QoL) was measured with the Short-Form Health Survey (SF-12). Results: Overall, 55 (2.3%) subjects met the criteria for GAD, with greater prevalence in women (3.6%) than in men (0.9%): OR = 4.02; 95%CI: 1.96–8.26. Up to 40% of those with GAD had at least another diagnosis of mood, anxiety, or eating disorders. The mean score of SF-12 in people with GAD was 32.33 ± 6.8, with a higher attributable burden than in other conditions except for major depressive disorder. Conclusions: We found a relatively lower lifetime prevalence of GAD than in community surveys based on lay interviewers and a structured interview. The identified cases of GAD showed a strong impact on the quality of life regardless of co-morbidity and high risk in women, suggesting a profile similar to the one identified from studies in primary and specialized care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number48
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Community survey
  • Comorbidity
  • Epidemiology
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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