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Anxiety disorders are prevalent yet under-recognized in late life. We examined the prevalence of anxiety disorders in a representative sample of community dwelling older adults in Hong Kong.
Data on 1,158 non-demented respondents aged 60–75 years were extracted from the Hong Kong Mental Morbidity survey (HKMMS). Anxiety was assessed with the revised Clinical Interview Schedule (CIS-R).
One hundred and thirty-seven respondents (11.9%, 95% CI = 10–13.7%) had common mental disorders with a CIS-R score of 12 or above. 8% (95% CI = 6.5–9.6%) had anxiety, 2.2% (95% CI = 1.3–3%) had an anxiety disorder comorbid with depressive disorder, and 1.7% (95% CI = 1–2.5%) had depression. Anxious individuals were more likely to be females (χ2 = 25.3, p < 0.001), had higher chronic physical burden (t = −9.3, p < 0.001), lower SF-12 physical functioning score (t = 9.2, p < 0.001), and poorer delayed recall (t = 2.3, p = 0.022). The risk of anxiety was higher for females (OR 2.8, 95% C.I. 1.7–4.6, p < 0.001) and those with physical illnesses (OR 1.4, 95% C.I. 1.3–1.6, p < 0.001). The risk of anxiety disorders increased in those with disorders of cardiovascular (OR 1.9, 95% C.I. 1.2–2.9, p = 0.003), musculoskeletal (OR 2.0, 95% C.I. 1.5–2.7, p < 0.001), and genitourinary system (OR 2.0, 95% C.I. 1.3–3.2, p = 0.002).
The prevalence of anxiety disorders in Hong Kong older population was 8%. Female gender and those with poor physical health were at a greater risk of developing anxiety disorders. Our findings also suggested potential risk for early sign of memory impairment in cognitively healthy individuals with anxiety disorders.
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