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Mood and anxiety disorders across the adult lifespan: a European perspective

  • R. D. McDowell (a1), A. Ryan (a1), B. P. Bunting (a2), S. M. O'Neill (a2), J. Alonso (a3), R. Bruffaerts (a4), R. de Graaf (a5), S. Florescu (a6), G. Vilagut (a7), J. M. C. de Almeida (a8), G. de Girolamo (a9), J. M. Haro (a10), H. Hinkov (a11), V. Kovess-Masfety (a12), H. Matschinger (a13) and T. Tomov (a14)...

Abstract

Background

The World Mental Health Survey Initiative (WMHSI) has advanced our understanding of mental disorders by providing data suitable for analysis across many countries. However, these data have not yet been fully explored from a cross-national lifespan perspective. In particular, there is a shortage of research on the relationship between mood and anxiety disorders and age across countries. In this study we used multigroup methods to model the distribution of 12-month DSM-IV/CIDI mood and anxiety disorders across the adult lifespan in relation to determinants of mental health in 10 European Union (EU) countries.

Method

Logistic regression was used to model the odds of any mood or any anxiety disorder as a function of age, gender, marital status, urbanicity and employment using a multigroup approach (n = 35500). This allowed for the testing of specific lifespan hypotheses across participating countries.

Results

No simple geographical pattern exists with which to describe the relationship between 12-month prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders and age. Of the adults sampled, very few aged ⩾80 years met DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for these disorders. The associations between these disorders and key sociodemographic variables were relatively homogeneous across countries after adjusting for age.

Conclusions

Further research is required to confirm that there are indeed stages in the lifespan where the reported prevalence of mental disorders is low, such as among younger adults in the East and older adults in the West. This project illustrates the difficulties in conducting research among different age groups simultaneously.

Copyright

Corresponding author

* Address for correspondence: Mr R. D. McDowell, Institute of Nursing and Health Research, School of Nursing, University of Ulster, Cromore Road, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry BT52 1SA, Northern Ireland, UK. (Email: McDowell-R3@email.ulster.ac.uk)

References

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Mood and anxiety disorders across the adult lifespan: a European perspective

  • R. D. McDowell (a1), A. Ryan (a1), B. P. Bunting (a2), S. M. O'Neill (a2), J. Alonso (a3), R. Bruffaerts (a4), R. de Graaf (a5), S. Florescu (a6), G. Vilagut (a7), J. M. C. de Almeida (a8), G. de Girolamo (a9), J. M. Haro (a10), H. Hinkov (a11), V. Kovess-Masfety (a12), H. Matschinger (a13) and T. Tomov (a14)...

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