Prevalence of anxiety disorders in community dwelling older adults in Hong Kong

Ada Wai Tung Fung*, Wai Chi Chan, Corine Sau Man Wong, Eric Yu Hai Chen, Roger Man Kin Ng, Edwin Ho Ming Lee, Wing Chung Chang, Se Fong Hung, Eric Fuk Chi Cheung, Pak Chung Sham, Helen Fung Kum Chiu, Ming Lam, Tin Po Chiang, Jim van Os, Joseph Tak Fai Lau, Glyn Lewis, Paul Bebbington, Linda Chiu Wa Lam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Anxiety disorders are prevalent yet under-recognized in late life. We examined the prevalence of anxiety disorders in a representative sample of community dwelling older adults in Hong Kong.

Method: Data on 1,158 non-demented respondents aged 60–75 years were extracted from the Hong Kong Mental Morbidity survey (HKMMS). Anxiety was assessed with the revised Clinical Interview Schedule (CIS-R).

Result: One hundred and thirty-seven respondents (11.9%, 95% CI = 10–13.7%) had common mental disorders with a CIS-R score of 12 or above. 8% (95% CI = 6.5–9.6%) had anxiety, 2.2% (95% CI = 1.3–3%) had an anxiety disorder comorbid with depressive disorder, and 1.7% (95% CI = 1–2.5%) had depression. Anxious individuals were more likely to be females (χ2 = 25.3, p < 0.001), had higher chronic physical burden (t = −9.3, p < 0.001), lower SF-12 physical functioning score (t = 9.2, p < 0.001), and poorer delayed recall (t = 2.3, p = 0.022). The risk of anxiety was higher for females (OR 2.8, 95% C.I. 1.7–4.6, p < 0.001) and those with physical illnesses (OR 1.4, 95% C.I. 1.3–1.6, p < 0.001). The risk of anxiety disorders increased in those with disorders of cardiovascular (OR 1.9, 95% C.I. 1.2–2.9, p = 0.003), musculoskeletal (OR 2.0, 95% C.I. 1.5–2.7, p < 0.001), and genitourinary system (OR 2.0, 95% C.I. 1.3–3.2, p = 0.002).

Conclusions: The prevalence of anxiety disorders in Hong Kong older population was 8%. Female gender and those with poor physical health were at a greater risk of developing anxiety disorders. Our findings also suggested potential risk for early sign of memory impairment in cognitively healthy individuals with anxiety disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-267
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Psychogeriatrics
Issue number2
Early online date21 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

User-Defined Keywords

  • prevalence
  • anxiety disorders
  • community
  • older adults
  • memory
  • cognitive function
  • early sign
  • mental health


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