Gender differences in panic disorder: findings from the National Comorbidity Survey

Am J Psychiatry. 2002 Jan;159(1):55-8. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.159.1.55.


Objective: Several epidemiological studies have demonstrated a higher prevalence of panic disorder in women than in men. This study explored whether the prevalence of specific panic symptoms differs by gender.

Method: National Comorbidity Survey data from 609 respondents who met DSM-III-R criteria for panic disorder or panic attacks were analyzed to test for gender differences across 18 panic symptoms.

Results: Among National Comorbidity Survey respondents with panic disorder or panic attacks, female respondents were more likely than male respondents to experience respiration-related difficulties during panic attacks.

Conclusions: Specific symptoms occurring during panic attacks differ by gender. The pathophysiology of these symptom differences may involve gender differences in sensitivity to CO(2) and in the threshold for panic attacks during hypoxic and hypercapnic states.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Panic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Panic Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Panic Disorder / psychology
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • United States / epidemiology