Associations of self-reported anxiety symptoms with health-related quality of life and health behaviors
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Anxiety disorders affect approximately 19 million American adults annually and have been associated with impaired health-related quality of life (HRQOL), an increased rate of adverse health behaviors, and poor outcomes related to chronic illness in studies conducted in clinical populations. Our study was designed to examine the association of self-reported anxiety symptoms with HRQOL and health behaviors among a representative sample of US community-dwellers.
Data were obtained from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System,an ongoing, state-based, random-digit telephone survey of the noninstitutionalized US population aged ≥ 18 years. In 2002, HRQOL measures were administered in 18 states and the District of Columbia.
An estimated 15% of persons reported frequent (≥ 14 days in the past 30 days) anxiety symptoms. After adjusting for frequent depressive symptoms and sociodemographic characteristics, those with frequent anxiety symptoms were significantly more likely than those without to report fair or poor general health (vs. excellent, very good, or good general health), frequent physical distress, frequent activity limitations, frequent sleep insufficiency, infrequent vitality, frequent mental distress, and frequent pain. In addition, they were more likely to smoke, to be obese, to be physically inactive, and to drink heavily.
Given their association with impaired HRQOL and adverse health behaviors, our results suggest that assessment of anxiety symptoms should be a facet of routine standard medical examinations.
Key wordsanxiety quality of life health behaviors surveillance mental health
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