Prevalence of anxiety disorders and subthreshold anxiety throughout later life: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Maartje Witlox*, Nadia Garnefski, Vivian Kraaij, Meropi Simou, Elise Dusseldorp, Ernst Bohlmeijer, Philip Spinhoven

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This systematic review and meta-analysis compared prevalence rates for subthreshold anxiety and anxiety disorders in adults aged 55+ and examined if these rates were associated with age. A systematic search and screening procedure resulted in 46 included articles. First, prevalence rates for subthreshold anxiety and anxiety disorders were statistically compared. Subthreshold panic, generalized anxiety and specific phobia were significantly more prevalent than the corresponding clinical disorders. In general, subthreshold anxiety appeared to be at least similarly prevalent to anxiety disorders, although firm conclusions are precluded due to the small number of samples that could be included in the analyses and the large heterogeneity between the reported prevalence rates. Second, using subgroup analyses, pooled prevalence rates for four age groups of older adults (55–64, 65–74, 75–84, 85+) were compared. For specific phobia, the 75–84 and 85+ groups had significantly lower prevalence rates than the 55–64 and 65–74 groups. Posttraumatic stress disorder was significantly more prevalent in the 55–64 group than in the other age groups, and lowest in the 85+ group. No other significant differences between age groups were found. The association between later life subthreshold anxiety and age could not be examined due to a lack of reported information. The main limitation of this study is the small number of samples in the analyses, which limits their power and generalizability. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-287
JournalPsychology and aging
Volume36
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • anxiety disorders
  • meta-analysis
  • older adults
  • prevalence
  • subthreshold anxiety

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Prevalence of anxiety disorders and subthreshold anxiety throughout later life: Systematic review and meta-analysis.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this