Healthcare costs and quality of life associated with the long-term outcome of anxiety disorders



Higgins C, Chambers JA, Major K & Durham RC (2021) Healthcare costs and quality of life associated with the long-term outcome of anxiety disorders. Anxiety, Stress and Coping, 34 (2), pp. 228-241.

Background and Objectives Anxiety disorders are costly; however, the relationship with treatment outcome has been neglected. This study examined healthcare costs and quality of life by diagnostic status (treatment outcome and the presence of comorbidity) at long-term follow-up. Design and Methods This cohort study comprized 317 patients entering treatment for at least one Axis I anxiety disorder. Four groups were identified based on diagnostic status at follow-up (recovered or disordered) and self-reported degree of interim treatment (high or low). A further grouping was established based on co-morbid diagnostic status at follow-up. Healthcare costs were calculated for the two years prior to treatment entry and the two years prior to follow-up using a repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA). Group differences in quality of life were assessed using a univariate ANOVA. Results Over two thirds of the sustained recovery group was treatment-free at follow-up whilst the remainder required adjuvant drug therapy. Over half of those remaining disordered at follow-up incurred substantial healthcare costs and presented with treatment-resistant symptoms and severely impaired quality of life. Conclusions Despite substantial investment some patients were associated with a clinical anxiety diagnosis at follow-up, and multimorbidity was associated with considerably higher costs.

Anxiety disorders; Quality of life; Healthcare costs; Treatment outcomes; Long-term follow-up

Anxiety, Stress and Coping: Volume 34, Issue 2

Publication date31/12/2021
Publication date online27/10/2020
Date accepted by journal07/07/2020

People (1)


Dr Julie Chambers

Dr Julie Chambers

Honorary Research Fellow, Psychology