Researchers are finding that genetic and environmental factors, frequently in interaction with one another, are risk factors for anxiety disorders. Specific factors include:

  • ➣ Shyness, or behavioral inhibition, in childhood
  • ➣ Being female
  • ➣ Having few economic resources
  • ➣ Being divorced or widowed
  • ➣ Exposure to stressful life events in childhood and adulthood
  • ➣ Anxiety disorders in close biological relatives
  • ➣ Parental history of mental disorders
  • ➣ Elevated afternoon cortisol levels in the saliva (specifically for social anxiety disorder)
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