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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 39 (1997) 8, 634 - 648

Short report

Anxiety disorders in later life: a study of prevalence and risk factors

M.A. Bremmer, A.T.F. Beekman, D.J.H. Deeg, A.J.L.M. van Balkom, R. van Dyck, W. van Tilburg

Although there is evidence that anxiety disorders are relatively common in later life, they have received less attention than other psychiatric disturbances. In a large community-based study of older people (n = 3056, 55-85 years) in the Netherlands, the prevalence of anxiety disorders was estimated at 10.2%. Generalized anxiety (7.3%) and the phobic disorder (3.1%) were quite common, while panic disorder (1.0%) and obsessive compulsive disorder (0.6%) appear to be relatively rare among the elderly. The study of riskfactors supports using the vulnerability-stress model to conceptualize the etiology of anxiety disorders. On the whole, vulnerability factors appear to dominate the etiology of anxiety disorders in later life.