A new global review says that women are nearly twice as likely to experience anxiety as men, and that part of this could simply be because women have more to worry about than their male counterparts.
The review of 48 pieces, published in Brain and Behavior, notes that people under 35 and those with health problems are more likely to have anxiety as well. The authors note that four of every 100 people globally experience anxiety, and that number is at its highest in North America, where eight of every 100 people report anxiety.
Four and eight percent might not seem huge, but they're significant. For instance, if a distant relative said they're moving into your home but would only take up four percent of your square footage, you might consider four percent to be relatively small, but really quite significant.
Women being twice as likely to develop anxiety was of special note, and led the Cambridge University researchers to hypothesize that it's in part because women have more to worry about even setting aside that pregnant women and new moms have lots of extra concerns, which may contribute to the fact that they're a population found to have higher rates of obsessive-compulsive disorder than the general population.
Lead researcher Olivia Remes suggests that a whole host of things go into the differences between men and women here. That includes men being less likely to report anxiety, brain chemistry, and women suffering from other mental health issues like depression at a higher rate than men. Also coming into play are traditional gender roles, such as parenting responsibilities, causing additional stress for women.
The Science of Us rightly tosses in other factors like women being paid less for the same work as men, that women multitask more than men, and that this means women probably need more sleep than men, but have a harder time getting it.
The researchers note that anxiety is a rarely researched mental health problem, and more research is needed to determine where the high-risk communities exist, since the research isn't conclusive and excludes many communities.
"There has been a lot of focus on depression — which is important — but anxiety is equally important and debilitating," Remes told the BBC. "It can lead to the development of other diseases and psychiatric disorders, increase the risk for suicide, and is associated with high costs to society."