Panic disorder in African-Americans: symptomatology and isolated sleep paralysis

Cult Med Psychiatry. 2002 Jun;26(2):179-98. doi: 10.1023/a:1016307515418.


While attention has been paid to the study of panic disorder (PD) with or without agoraphobia among Caucasians, surprisingly little empirical research within the United States has looked at the phenomenology of PD among minority groups. In this paper we present data we have collected and review other research on the phenomenology, social supports, and coping behavior among African-Americans with panic disorder. Our studies indicate that, in comparison to Caucasians, African-Americans with PD reported more intense fears of dying or going crazy, as well as higher levels of numbing and tingling in their extremities. African-Americans reported higher rates of comorbid post traumatic disorder and more depression. African-Americans also used somewhat different coping strategies (such as religiosity and counting one's blessings), less self-blame, and were somewhat more dissatisfied with social supports. The incidence of isolated sleep paralysis was, as per previous reports, higher in African-Americans. These findings, results of other research, and the implications for assessment and treatment are discussed within a semantic network analysis of panic (Hinton and Hinton 2002, this issue).

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Caribbean Region / ethnology
  • Catchment Area, Health
  • Consciousness Disorders / ethnology
  • Culture*
  • Data Collection
  • Humans
  • Panic Disorder / complications
  • Panic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Panic Disorder / ethnology*
  • Prejudice
  • Psychiatry
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / ethnology*
  • Social Adjustment
  • Social Support*
  • Sociology, Medical
  • Stress, Psychological / ethnology
  • United States / epidemiology