Prevalence of anxiety symptomatology and diagnosis in syndromic intellectual disability: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Georgina Edwards*, Chris Jones, Effie Pearson, Rachel Royston, Christopher Oliver, Joanne Tarver, Hayley Crawford, Lauren Shelley, Jane Waite

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Individuals with syndromic intellectual disability are at increased risk of experiencing anxiety. Comparing prevalence estimates of anxiety will allow the identification of at-risk groups and inform causal pathways of anxiety. No known study has explored estimates of anxiety symptomatology and diagnosis, including specific anxiety profiles, across groups whilst accounting for methodological quality of studies. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to fill this gap. Prior to review completion, methodology and analysis plans were registered and documented in a protocol (CRD42019123561). Data from 83 papers, involving a pooled sample of 13,708 across eight syndromes were synthesised using a random effects model. Anxiety prevalence ranged from 9% (95% CI: 4-14) in Down syndrome to 73% in Rett syndrome (95% CI: 70-77). Anxiety prevalence across syndromic intellectual disability was higher than for intellectual disability of mixed aetiology and general population estimates. Substantial variability between syndromes identified groups at higher risk than others. The identification of high-risk groups is crucial for early intervention, allowing us to refine models of risk and identify divergent profiles.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104719
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Early online date2 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

CC BY 4.0

Funding: This work was supported by The Baily Thomas Charitable Fund, grant number (5009-7975).


  • Anxiety
  • Intellectual disability
  • Meta-analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Review
  • Syndromes


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