Richer countries have higher rates of anxiety in their population than poorer countries and — in a finding that surprised even the researchers — that anxiety also interfered more with daily activities and responsibilities.
Specifically, there was a higher proportion of people in higher-income countries with generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD — defined as excessive and uncontrollable worry that affects a person’s life — and with severe GAD. The researchers, who are members of the WHO World Mental Health Survey Consortium, published their findings in JAMA Psychiatry on Wednesday.
For example, Australia and New Zealand, both identified as high-income countries, had the highest lifetime prevalence rates — 8 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively. Nigeria (0.1 percent) and Shenzhen, China (0.2 percent), had the lowest rates reported; both were categorized as low-income areas.