Little is known about prevalence rates of DSM-IV disorders across age strata of older adults, including common conditions such as individual and coexisting mood and anxiety disorders.
To determine nationally representative estimates of 12-month prevalence rates of mood, anxiety, and comorbid mood-anxiety disorder across young-old, mid-old, old-old, and oldest old community-dwelling adults.
Design and Setting
The National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R) is a population-based probability sample of 9282 participants 18 years and older, conducted between February 2001 and April 2003. The NCS-R survey used the fully structured World Health Organization World Mental Health Survey version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview.
We studied the 2575 participants 55 years and older who were part of NCS-R (43% 55-64; 32% 65-74; 20% 75-84; 5% ≥85 years). This included only non-institutionalized adults, as all NCS-R participants resided in households within the community.
Main Outcome Measures
Twelve-month prevalence of mood disorders (MDD, dysthymia, bipolar disorder), anxiety disorders (panic disorder, agoraphobia, specific phobia, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder), and coexisting mood-anxiety disorder were assessed using DSM-IV criteria. Prevalence rates were weighted to adjust for the complex design in order to infer generalizability to the U.S. population.
The likelihood of having a mood, anxiety, or combined mood-anxiety disorder generally showed a pattern of decline with age (P < .05). Twelve-month disorders showed higher rates in women compared to men; a statistically significant trend with age. In addition, anxiety disorders were as high if not higher than mood disorders across age groups (overall 12-month rates: mood=5% and anxiety=12%). No differences were found between race/ethnicity groups.
Prevalence rates of DSM-IV mood and anxiety disorders in late life tend to decline with age, but remain very common; especially in women. These results highlight the need for intervention and prevention strategies.