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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Use of register and survey-based measures of anxiety in a population based Danish cohort

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OBJECTIVE: We explored the comparability of anxiety measures from register- and survey-based data including analyses of prevalence and associations with selected psychiatric and somatic diseases.

METHODS: We measured anxiety using Danish registers (hospital diagnosis and anxiolytic drug prescriptions), self-reports, symptom checklist (SCL) scores, and a clinical interview in 7493 adults with mean age 52 (SD 13.3) years who participated in a health survey between 2012 and 2015. We estimated the prevalence of anxiety, agreement between different measures and performed quantitative bias analysis.

RESULTS: The lifetime prevalence of hospital diagnosed anxiety, anxiolytic drug prescriptions, and self-reported anxiety were 4.4%, 6.2%, and 5.1%, respectively, after adjusting for selective participation. The agreement between the different anxiety measures was low. Thus, 25% with an anxiety diagnosis and 20% with anxiolytic drug prescriptions also had a high SCL score. Anxiolytic drugs were the only measure significantly associated with higher odds of heart disease. Hospital diagnosis and self-reported anxiety were associated with depression with odds ratio (OR) above 15, whereas anxiolytic drug prescriptions were less strongly associated (OR = 2.2(95% confidence interval: 1.26-3.91)). The risk estimates attenuated considerably when correcting for measurement error, whereas the ORs became slightly higher when the selective participation in the survey was accounted for.

CONCLUSION: Anxiety diagnosed in hospitals and self-reported anxiety showed low level of agreement but provide comparable results regarding frequency measures and associations with disease outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Volume144
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)501-509
Number of pages9
ISSN0001-690X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

ID: 66432193