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Subthreshold Syndromes of Depression and Anxiety in the Community

Jules Angst, M.D., Kathleen R. Merikangas, Ph.D., and Martin Preisig, M.D.

Published: February 1, 1997

Article Abstract

Nearly 50% of individuals in the community meet threshold or subthreshold diagnostic criteria fordepression or anxiety, with depression being far more common. Co-occurrence of anxiety and depressionis common, as the majority of individuals who experience anxiety also manifest threshold- orsubthreshold-level depression. In the current study, addition of subthreshold categories improved thecoverage of treated cases in the community by nearly a third; 61% of subjects were diagnosed accordingto threshold criteria while 89% were diagnosed according to subthreshold categories. These resultssuggest that inclusion of subthreshold-level syndromes enhances the validity of diagnostic systemsby increasing the proportion of treated cases that meet diagnostic criteria and by providing amore accurate representation of milder syndromes of depression and anxiety.

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Volume: 58

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