Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2015

Thesis Advisor(s)

Blair T. Johnson

Honors Major



Biological Psychology | Clinical Psychology | Health Psychology


A large proportion of the U.S. population suffers from anxiety and related mental illnesses. An in-depth analysis needs to examine all possible factors that may explain why anxiety is on an upward trend and why women are more likely than men to present with anxiety. This study examined the anxiety in five cross-sectional United States surveys (Total N=19,630) taken in 2003, 2006, 2009, 2011, and 2013. Predictors such as demographics (e.g., race, age, gender), medical conditions, behavioral choices (e.g., BMI, exercise, sleep), and psychosocial stressors were investigated. Linear regression and logistic regression analyses were used to examine trends. Anxiety is more likely to be reported in females (vs. males), whites (vs. other races or ethnicities), younger generations, those with lower education levels, lower household income, being married (or formerly married or single; vs. cohabitating), living with stress and depression, managing or coping with stress, having a lack of concentration, a lack of memory, deficits in sleep, having acid reflux/heartburn, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome and/or vision problems. Although there are important limitations to the current study, these trends may provide some insights to help society control the drastic increase of anxiety in both men and women.