Personality disorder traits as predictors of subsequent first-onset panic disorder or agoraphobia

O Joseph Bienvenu, Murray B Stein, Jack F Samuels, Chiadi U Onyike, William W Eaton, Gerald Nestadt
Comprehensive Psychiatry 2009, 50 (3): 209-14
Determining how personality disorder traits and panic disorder and/or agoraphobia relate longitudinally is an important step in developing a comprehensive understanding of the etiology of panic/agoraphobia. In 1981, a probabilistic sample of adult (> or =18 years old) residents of east Baltimore were assessed for Axis I symptoms and disorders using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS); psychiatrists reevaluated a subsample of these participants and made Axis I diagnoses, as well as ratings of individual Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition personality disorder traits. Of the participants psychiatrists examined in 1981, 432 were assessed again in 1993 to 1996 using the DIS. Excluding participants who had baseline panic attacks or panic-like spells from the risk groups, baseline timidity (avoidant, dependent, and related traits) predicted first-onset DIS panic disorder or agoraphobia over the follow-up period. These results suggest that avoidant and dependent personality traits are predisposing factors, or at least markers of risk, for panic disorder and agoraphobia-not simply epiphenomena.

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