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Sex Differences in Anxiety Disorders in Older Adults


Purpose of Review

Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental disorders. Although prevalence estimates are lower in males than females, the disability associated with anxiety disorders has been increasing in males. This review focuses on recent research studying sex differences in anxiety disorders and associated symptoms in older adults.

Recent Findings

Females are close to three times more likely than males to report most anxiety disorders. Heterogeneity exists in sex-specific lifetime and past-year estimates. Age-appropriate instruments such as the CIDI65+ show higher estimates than previous research. The profiles of females and males with anxiety with respect to depressive and somatization symptoms are different.


Age-appropriate standardized mental disorder instruments have been developed and may be useful to overcome the challenges of observed heterogeneity in anxiety disorders and allow for future cross-country comparisons and a better description of the epidemiology and biopsychosocial factors associated with different types of anxiety disorders in older adults.

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Correspondence to Helen-Maria Vasiliadis.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Sex and Gender Issues in Behavioral Health

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Vasiliadis, HM., Desjardins, F., Roberge, P. et al. Sex Differences in Anxiety Disorders in Older Adults. Curr Psychiatry Rep 22, 75 (2020).

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  • Anxiety disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Sex differences
  • Affective symptoms
  • Older adults