Method: We conducted exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses on Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7) and Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) items to identify latent factors of anxiety and depression in participants from the Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression Study (N = 35,637; 16–93 years). We assessed age- and sex-related variability in latent factors and individual symptoms using multiple logistic regression.
Results: Four factors of mood, worry, motor, and somatic symptoms were identified (comparative fit index [CFI] = 0.99, Tucker–Lewis Index [TLI] = 0.99, root mean square error of approximation [RMSEA] = 0.07, standardized root mean square residuals [SRMR] = 0.04). Symptoms of irritability (odds ratio [OR] = 0.81) were most strongly associated with younger age, and sleep change (OR = 1.14) with older age. Males were more likely to report mood and motor symptoms (p < .001) and females to report somatic symptoms (p < .001).
Conclusion: Significant age and sex variability suggest that classic diagnostic criteria reflect the presentation most commonly seen in younger males. This study provides avenues for diagnostic adaptation and factor-specific interventions.