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, Hong Kong Mental Morbidity Survey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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 (.2 = 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
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


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


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