Antecedents to Panic Disorder in Nonreferred Adults.

Objective: Previous work has shown that childhood anxiety disorders are unique antecedents for panic disorder. The current study examined both childhood and adult comorbid disorders as potential antecedent disorders to panic disorder in a large sample of nonreferred adults.

Methods: Subjects were 1018 adults with (N = 58) and without (N = 960) panic disorder who were derived from a sample originally ascertained through family studies of probands with and without attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); data were obtained from 1988 to 1996. Classification and regression trees (CART) analysis was used to examine anxiety and nonanxiety disorders antecedent to panic disorder.

Results: CART analysis showed that separation anxiety disorder, social phobia, and simple phobia were unique predictors of subsequent panic disorder.

Conclusion: These results support and expand previously reported findings in referred samples documenting that comorbid anxiety disorders are unique antecedent risk factors for panic disorder.

J Clin Psychiatry 2006;67(8):1179-1186