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, 47 (6), 487-93

Specificity of Autonomic Arousal to DSM-IV Panic Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder


Specificity of Autonomic Arousal to DSM-IV Panic Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Timothy A Brown et al. Behav Res Ther.


Although research on the hierarchical model of anxiety and depression has confirmed that autonomic arousability (AA) is more germane to panic disorder with or without agoraphobia (PD/A) than other DSM-IV anxiety and mood disorders, studies have not evaluated the differential relevance of AA to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This issue was addressed in multivariate analytic models using 295 outpatients with anxiety and mood disorders. Consistent with prediction, the presence of current DSM-IV PTSD and PD/A was significantly predictive of AA, even when other forms of anxiety disorder comorbidity were held constant. Moreover, latent structural analyses indicated that PTSD and PD/A were the only DSM-IV anxiety disorder constructs to have significant direct effects on AA (in accord with previous findings, the DSM-IV constructs of generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder did not have significant structural relationships with AA). The current findings, which attest to the specificity of AA to PTSD and PD/A, are discussed in context of other clinically salient shared features of these disorders and their relevance to treatment and diagnostic classification.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Latent Structural Model of the Relationships Between DSM-IV Anxiety Disorder Constructs and Autonomic Arousal
Note. PD/A = Panic Disorder/Agoraphobia, PTSD = Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, GAD = Generalized Anxiety Disorder, SOC = Social Phobia, OCD = Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, NA = Negative Affect. Completely standardized estimates are shown. *p < .01 **p < .001

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