This selective review of the relationship between panic disorder/agoraphobia and DSM-III personality disorders points to a preponderance of dependent, avoidant, and histrionic features and reveals a certain degree of covariation between severity of Axis I disorder and personality functioning. However, the link between panic/agoraphobia and Axis II disorders does not appear to be specific because (1) general features such as neuroticism, stress, dysphoric mood, and interpersonal sensitivity, rather than duration and severity of panic attacks and phobias, emerge as unique predictors or determinants of personality disorder; and (2) similar personality profiles are obtained in a heterogenous population of psychiatric outpatients or patients with social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and major depression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The element of chance and the role of the individual in causing negative life events was explored by examining the relationship between measures of personality, symptoms, and a number of demographic variables in a nonclinical population (n = 892). The results indicated that Eysenck's neuroticism was the best predictor of negative interpersonal life events. Symptoms added a negligible amount to the variance explained in the occurrence of life events. The well-established relationships between neuroticism and symptoms and life events and symptoms are discussed in the light of these findings.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The rates of comorbid personality disorders in patients with panic disorder are reported to be elevated, have an adverse impact on the response to treatment, and increase the likelihood of relapse on treatment discontinuation. We examined the rates of personality disorders in panic disorder patients in a longitudinal, naturalistic study of panic disorder. Of 100 panic disorder patients studied, 42 met criteria for at least one personality disorder as determined by the Personality Disorder Questionnaire-Revised (PDQ-R). The presence of a personality disorder as determined by the PDQ-R was associated with a past history of childhood anxiety disorders, comorbidity with other anxiety disorders and depression, and a chronic, unremitting course of panic disorder in adulthood. The presence of a personality disorder in these patients was not significantly associated with a history of physical or sexual abuse in childhood. Our findings support the notion that an anxiety diathesis, demonstrated by significant difficulties with anxiety in childhood, influences the development of apparent personality dysfunction in panic patients. In other cases, personality pathology may reflect the presence of comorbid anxiety disorders or depression. The association of personality disorder in panic patients with a more unremitting course of illness underscores the importance of axis II pathology in understanding the longitudinal course of panic disorder.
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