The prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders in Australian women

Lana Williams, Felice Jacka, Julie Pasco, Margaret Henry, Seetal Dodd, Geoffrey Nicholson, Mark Kotowicz, Michael Berk
Australasian Psychiatry: Bulletin of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists 2010, 18 (3): 250-5

OBJECTIVE: We aimed to report the prevalence, age-of-onset and comorbidity of mood and anxiety disorders in an age-stratified representative sample of Australian women aged 20 years and over.

METHOD: Mood and anxiety disorders were diagnosed utilising a clinical interview (SCID-I/NP). The lifetime and current prevalence of these disorders was determined from the study population (n = 1095) and standardized to 2006 census data for Australia.

RESULTS: Approximately one in three women (34.8%) reported a lifetime history of any mood and/or anxiety disorder, with mood disorders (30.0%) being more prevalent than anxiety disorders (13.5%). Of these, major depression (23.4%), panic disorder (5.5%) and specific phobia (3.5%) were the most common. The lifetime prevalence of other disorders was low (< or =3%). A total of 14.4% of women were identified as having a current mood and/or anxiety disorder, with similar rates of mood (8.9%) and anxiety disorders (8.0%) observed. The median age-of-onset for mood disorders was 27.0 years and 18.5 years for anxiety disorders.

CONCLUSIONS: This study reports the lifetime and current prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders in the Australian female population. The findings emphasize the extent of the burden of these disorders in the community.

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