Varying temporal criteria for generalized anxiety disorder: Prevalence and clinical characteristics in a young age cohort

Jules Angst, Alex Gamma, O. Joseph Bienvenu, William W. Eaton, Vladeta Ajdacic, Dominique Eich, Wulf Rössler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background. This study questions the 6-month duration criterion for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) used in DSM-III-R and DSM-IV. Method. In adults from age 20/21 to 40/41 in the prospective Zurich Cohort Study, four groups of generalized anxiety syndromes defined by varying duration (2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months and 6 months) were compared. Results. Applying DSM-III (1979-1999) and DSM-III-R (1986-1999) criteria, there were no significant differences between the four groups in terms of family history of anxiety, work impairment, distress, treatment rates or co-morbidity with major depressive episodes (MDEs), bipolar disorder or suicide attempts. Only social impairment related to the length of episodes. The 6-month criterion of DSM-III-R and DSM-IV GAD would preclude this diagnosis in about half of the subjects treated for generalized anxiety syndromes. Conclusions. In this epidemiological sample, the 6-month duration criterion for GAD could not be confirmed as clinically meaningful. GAD syndromes of varying duration form a continuum with comparable clinical relevance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1283-1292
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological medicine
Volume36
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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