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Panic attacks and the risk of personality disorder

  • RENEE D. GOODWIN (a1), JUDITH S. BROOK (a2) and PATRICIA COHEN (a1) (a3)

Abstract

Objective. The goal of this study is to determine the association between panic attacks in adolescence and the risk of personality disorders during young adulthood.

Method. Data were drawn from the Children in the Community Study, a longitudinal epidemiological study of psychopathology across the life-course in 717 individuals in the community. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to determine the association between panic attacks during adolescence in 1983 and the risk of personality disorders during young adulthood in 1993, adjusting for differences in sociodemographic characteristics, adolescent personality disorders, and co-morbid depressive and substance use disorders.

Results. Panic attacks during adolescence (in 1983) were associated with an increased risk of any DSM-IV personality disorder (in 1993) during young adulthood, which persisted after adjusting for differences in sociodemographic characteristics, adolescent personality disorders, and co-morbid depressive and substance use disorders. Panic attacks were associated with a statistically significantly increased risk of Cluster A, B, and C personality disorders.

Conclusions. These data provide initial evidence that panic attacks early in life are a marker or risk factor for the development of personality disorders in young adulthood. Replication of these findings is needed, as is more in-depth investigation into the mechanism of this link. If replicated in future research, these results may reveal a novel potential pathway for identifying youth at high risk for personality disorders.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr Renee Goodwin, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 43, New York, NY 10032, USA. (Email: rdg66@columbia.edu)

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