Women are at nearly twice the risk of experiencing anxiety as men, a new scientific review finds.
Women may be particularly vulnerable because they are more prone to stress and rumination than men.
Rumination involves turning problems over-and-over in the mind and is linked to both anxiety and depression.
In comparison to men, women may also suffer more abuse and/or discrimination, which is also linked to anxiety.
For example, one study has linked women’s lower wages in the US to increased depression.
Surprisingly, perhaps, those living in North America and in Western Europe were also at a higher risk of suffering from anxiety.
Internationally, though, the very highest rate of anxiety disorders is seen in North America, with 8 in every 100 people experiencing problems.
In East Asia, by comparison, 3 in 100 have the same mental health problem.
The research also found that those under the age of 35 are also more at risk of suffering from problems with anxiety.
The conclusions come from a synthesis of 48 separate studies.
Ms Olivia Remes, the study’s first author, said:
“Anxiety disorders can make life extremely difficult for some people and it is important for our health services to understand how common they are and which groups of people are at greatest risk.
By collecting all these data together, we see that these disorders are common across all groups, but women and young people are disproportionately affected.
Also, people who have a chronic health condition are at a particular risk, adding a double burden on their lives.”
The study was published in the journal Brain and Behavior (Remes et al., 2016).
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