A number of social, familial, and psychological factors have been identified to explain the onset of mood and anxiety disorders among adolescent and young adult populations. The purpose of this study is to identify the shared and unique predictors of anxiety and mood disorders by simultaneously testing a range of established psychosocial risk factors.
A national birth cohort of the Danish population born in 1984 and tracked over the course of the first 21 years of their life was used in the current study (n = 54,458). Psychosocial risk factors including paternal and maternal history of any anxiety and mood disorder, parental history of self-harming behaviour, advanced paternal age, gender, urban dwelling, economic deprivation, family dissolution, and childhood adversity were used to predict diagnosis of both anxiety and mood disorders from ages 10 to 21 years.
Binary logistic regression analysis showed that being female and a parental history of a mood or anxiety disorder are the strongest predictors of both disorders. Economic deprivation, and family dissolution also increase likelihood of both disorders. Urban dwelling and childhood adversity are predictors of anxiety disorders but not mood disorders.
Between the ages of 10 and 21 years, anxiety and mood disorders share many common risk factors. However, urban dwelling and childhood adversity appear to be unique predictors of anxiety disorders. Results suggest there is no dominant factor in the prediction of either disorder, rather the accumulation of different risk factors is most deleterious.