Predictors of comorbid personality disorders in patients with panic disorder with agoraphobia

M Latas, V Starcevic, G Trajkovic, G Bogojevic
Comprehensive Psychiatry 2000, 41 (1): 28-34
The aim of this study was to ascertain predictors of comorbid personality disorders in patients with panic disorder with agoraphobia (PDAG). Sixty consecutive outpatients with PDAG were administered the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis II Personality Disorders (SCID-II) for the purpose of diagnosing personality disorders. Logistic regressions were used to identify predictors of any comorbid personality disorder, any DSM-IV cluster A, cluster B, and cluster C personality disorder. Independent variables in these regressions were gender, age, duration of panic disorder (PD), severity of PDAG, and scores on self-report instruments that assess the patient's perception of their parents, childhood separation anxiety, and traumatic experiences. High levels of parental protection on the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI), indicating a perception of the parents as overprotective and controlling, emerged as the only statistically significant predictor of any comorbid personality disorder. This finding was attributed to the association between parental overprotection and cluster B personality disorders, particularly borderline personality disorder. The duration of PD was a significant predictor of any cluster B and any cluster C personality disorder, suggesting that some of the cluster B and cluster C personality disorders may be a consequence of the long-lasting PDAG. Any cluster B personality disorder was also associated with younger age. In conclusion, despite a generally nonspecific nature of the relationship between parental overprotection in childhood and adult psychopathology, the findings of this study suggest some specificity for the association between parental overprotection in childhood and personality disturbance in PDAG patients, particularly cluster B personality disorders.

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