Adverse life events and the onset of anxiety disorders

Beyon Miloyan, O. Joseph Bienvenu, Ben Brilot, William W. Eaton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This study tested the hypothesis that adverse events are associated with increased risk of onset of anxiety disorders. Data from Waves 1 (N = 43,093; 2001–2002) and 2 (N = 34,653; 2004–2005) of the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) were used to assess whether adverse events at baseline are associated with increased risk of anxiety disorder onset over three years of follow up. Sixty-six percent (SE: 1.0) of respondents with an anxiety disorder in the intervening period between Waves 1 and 2 had experienced an adverse life event in the year prior to the Wave 1 interview. In logistic regression models adjusted for sociodemographic and psychiatric characteristics, adverse life events at baseline were associated with anxiety disorder onset within the three-year follow up period. The pattern of association between adverse events and anxiety disorder onset was similar across sub-types, and injury, illness or death of family or close friends consistently had the strongest association with anxiety disorder onset. These findings suggest that adverse life events play a role in the onset of anxiety disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488-492
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatry research
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Adversity
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Epidemiology
  • Life events
  • Onset
  • Recurrence
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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