Personality disorders and time to remission in generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, and panic disorder

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2002 May;59(5):434-40. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.59.5.434.


Background: This investigation assessed the effect of personality disorders (PersDs) on time to remission in patients with generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, or panic disorder.

Methods: Selected Axis I and II predictors of time to remission during 5 years of follow-up were assessed in 514 patients with 1 or more of these anxiety disorders who participated in the Harvard/Brown Anxiety Research Program, a multisite, prospective, longitudinal, naturalistic study.

Results: The presence of a PersD predicted a 30% lower likelihood of generalized anxiety disorder remission, a 39% lower likelihood of social phobia remission, and no difference in likelihood of panic disorder remission. More specifically, a lower likelihood of remission from generalized anxiety disorder was predicted by the presence of avoidant PersD (34% lower) and dependent PersD (14% lower). The presence of avoidant PersD predicted a 41% lower likelihood of social phobia remission. The presence of major depressive disorder did not account for these findings.

Conclusions: Our findings provide new data on the pernicious effect of PersDs on the course of generalized anxiety disorder and social phobia but not panic disorder, suggesting that PersDs have a differential effect on the outcome of anxiety disorders.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Panic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Panic Disorder / therapy*
  • Personality Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Phobic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Phobic Disorders / therapy*
  • Probability
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Treatment Outcome