Gender-related differences in the onset of panic disorder

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2001 Mar;103(3):189-95. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0447.2001.00194.x.


Objective: To investigate gender-related differences in premorbid conditions and in the role of triggering events in the onset of panic disorder (PD).

Method: One hundred and eighty-four out-patients with a principal diagnosis of PD (DSM-IV) were evaluated with a semi-structured interview to generate Axis I and Axis II diagnoses according to DSM-IV, to collect family history of psychiatric disorders and life events. The statistical analysis was performed comparing men and women.

Results: Men and women showed similar age at onset of PD. A family history of mood disorders characterized females. Men had higher rates of cyclothymia, body dysmorphic disorder and depersonalization disorder preceding PD, while women had higher rates of bulimia nervosa. Dependent and histrionic PDs were more common among women, while borderline and schizoid PDs were more common among men. Life events showed a significant role in precipitating PD onset in women.

Conclusion: Premorbid clinical conditions of PD seem to differentiate between males and females in the role of precipitating events.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Panic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Panic Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Panic Disorder / psychology*
  • Personality Disorders / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution