Differences in reported symptom profile between panic disorder and other DSM-III-R anxiety disorders

Ronald M. Rapee*, William C. Sanderson, Pamela A. McCauley, Peter A. Di Nardo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research has indicated that reports of panic attacks are associated with a different set of symptoms to reports of generalized anxiety. The present two studies attempted to extend these findings to specific (situational) fears. In Study 1, 55 subjects with panic disorder were compared on their symptom profile during their panic attacks to 65 subjects with other anxiety disorders [simple phobia, social phobia and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)] during response to their feared cue. The results indicated that, compared to subjects with other anxiety disorders, subjects with panic disorder were more likely to report parasthesias, dizziness, faintness, unreality, dyspnea, fear of dying and fear of going crazy/losing control. In Study 2, 90 subjects meeting diagnostic criteria for both panic disorder and another anxiety disorder (simple phobia, social phobia or OCD) were compared on the symptoms experienced during their unexpected panic attacks and their situationally-triggered fears respectively. Combining the symptoms found in Study 1 to differ between the groups into a linear combination, there was a significant interaction found between the type of fear reaction (panic attack vs cued fear response) and symptom group. Taken together, these findings suggest that reports of unexpected panic attacks associated with panic disorder are characterized by a different symptom profile to reports of specific fear reactions that are part of a phobic disorder or OCD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages8
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


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