Traumatic events are the biggest determinant of anxiety and depression

Traumatic events are the biggest cause of anxiety and depression, according to new research.

Researchers at The University of Liverpool came to this conclusion after analysing results of the BBC's Stress Test.

More than 32,000 respondents answered questions about their anxiety levels in the online test. According to, traumatic events were found to be the biggest factor determining whether individuals were likely to suffer from anxiety or depression. Other key factors included a family history of mental illness, income and education levels.

In an interview with, the study's lead author, Professor Peter Kinderman, was keen to state that it was possible to ease the symptoms of stress and anxiety by helping patients change the way they view certain events.

He said: "The way a person thinks about, and deals with, stressful events is as much an indicator of the level of stress and anxiety they feel.

"Whilst we can't change a person's family history or their life experiences, it is possible to help a person to change the way they think and to teach them positive coping strategies that can mitigate and reduce stress levels."

The study was reportedly the biggest of its kind to take place in the UK.