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Original Research

Anxiety, Depression, and Quality of Life in Primary Care Patients

Gretchen A. Brenes, PhD

Published: December 14, 2007

Article Abstract

Background: Anxiety and depressive disorders have a significant and negative impact on quality of life. However, less is known about the effects of anxiety and depressive symptoms on quality of life. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of anxiety and depressive symptoms on emotional and physical functioning, the effects of anxiety symptoms on functioning independent of depressive symptoms, and the effects of depressive symptoms on functioning independent of anxiety symptoms.

Method: Participants included 919 patients, recruited from 2 university-affiliated primary care clinics between May 2004 and September 2006, who completed self-report measures of anxiety symptoms, depressive symptoms, and quality of life.

Results: Almost 40% of the sample reported anxiety symptoms and 30% reported depressive symptoms. In both unadjusted and adjusted models, anxiety and depressive symptoms were significantly associated with all domains of quality of life. When anxiety and depressive symptoms were added simultaneously, both remained significant. As the severity of anxiety or depressive symptoms increased, quality of life decreased. Furthermore, patients with moderate to severe anxiety or depressive symptoms had greater impairments in most quality of life domains than patients with acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, or diabetes.

Conclusion: Detection and treatment of anxiety and depressive symptoms in the primary care setting should be emphasized.

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