Poor women at greater risk of anxiety

Anxiety disorders, which often manifest as excessive worry, fear and a tendency to avoid potentially stressful situations including social gatherings, are some of the most common mental health problems in the Western world.

By Zee Media Bureau | Last Updated: May 05, 2017, 18:45 PM IST
Poor women at greater risk of anxiety
Representational image

New Delhi: As per a new study, poor women are 60 per cent more likely to suffer from anxiety than women living in richer areas. However, whether men lived in poorer or richer areas made very little difference to their anxiety levels.

The results of the study are published in the journal BMJ Open.

Anxiety disorders, which often manifest as excessive worry, fear and a tendency to avoid potentially stressful situations including social gatherings, are some of the most common mental health problems in the Western world.

The annual cost related to the disorders in the United States is estimated to be $42.3 million. In the European Union, over 60 million people are affected by anxiety disorders in a given year.

There have been few studies to date that assess the factors or characteristics that are linked to anxiety disorders, and even fewer looking at the impact of places where people live in relation to anxiety.

However, previous studies have linked living in areas of high deprivation or poverty with significantly increased risks for serious medical conditions and a shorter life expectancy.

To examine whether living in poor areas is related to anxiety disorders, researchers from the Cambridge Institute of Public Health studied health and lifestyle questionnaires completed by some 21,000 people in and around Norwich, east England, between 1993-2000.

The participants had been recruited as part of the EPIC-Norfolk study, set up to look at the connection between diet, lifestyle factors and cancer.

One in 40 women (2.5%) and one in 55 men (1.8%) were found to have generalised anxiety disorder.

Women living in the most deprived areas were over 60% more likely to have anxiety than those living in areas that were not deprived.

This association between deprivation and generalised anxiety disorder was not apparent in men.

(With ANI inputs)