ADHD News & Research

Study: One in Nine Adults with Generalized Anxiety Disorder Has ADHD

A robust link exists between ADHD and GAD (generalized anxiety disorder), according to a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Toronto in Canada that builds on literature linking the two comorbid disorders.

November 24, 2021

About 11% of adults with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) also have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD), according to a new study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders1 that explores the two conditions’ comorbidities.

Adults with ADHD are four times more likely to have GAD than are peers without ADHD, according to the research. Even when adjusting for variables including socioeconomic status, depression, and childhood adversity, researchers found that the rates of GAD were more than double for individuals with ADHD compared to those without the condition.

For the study, researchers from the University of Toronto analyzed data from a sample of roughly 7,000 adults aged 20-39, derived from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey—Mental Health. About 270 adults from the sample had ADHD, and about 680 had GAD.

Other findings suggest that women with ADHD are four times more likely to experience GAD than are women without ADHD. Factors like a lifetime history of depression, a yearly income below $40,000, and having fewer close relationships were also significantly associated with GAD among those with ADHD.

The findings build on the well-established link in literature between anxiety disorders and ADHD. The authors emphasize the need for targeted interventions to support adults who have both ADHD and anxiety.


1Fuller-Thomson, E., Carrique, L., & MacNeil, A. (2021). Generalized anxiety disorder among adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Journal of affective disorders, S0165-0327(21)01096-X. Advance online publication.