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Women Are More Likely to Have an Anxiety Disorder Than Men

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A new review suggests that anxiety disorders are more prevalent among women—perhaps even twice as common.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the Wesminster City Council published a review in the journal Brain and Behavior on Sunday that analyzed 48 previous reviews of the prevalence of anxiety disorders among different groups. They included reviews that assessed a variety of anxiety disorders—and that used a range of anxiety-assessing methods (including self-reporting symptoms).

Not only are anxiety disorders substantially prevalent—the research estimates that they affect between 3.8% and 25% of world the population—but they’re also common in women in particular, according to three of the reviews researchers looked at. In fact, they estimated that 5.2% to 8.7% of women suffer from anxiety.

“Women are almost twice as likely to be affected as men, with sex differences persisting over time and across high and low resource settings,” researchers wrote in the study.

Young adults, people with chronic diseases and individuals from “Euro/Anglo cultures” were also found to be disproportionately affected.

“Anxiety disorders are increasingly being recognized as important determinants of poor health and major contributors to health service use across the globe,” wrote the researchers. “Despite epidemiologic advances in this field, important areas of research remain under- or unexplored.”

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