Personality profiles of patients with panic disorder and social phobia: Clinical pattern and relationship to course of treatment

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Theodore Millon - Committee Chair


This study examined the personality profiles of three groups of anxiety disorder patients: panic disorder with no or mild agoraphobia (PD+NO/MILD AG), panic disorder with moderate or severe agoraphobia (PD+MOD/SEV AG), and social phobia (SOC). A phenomenologic investigation of differences in the personality patterns exhibited by these three anxiety disorder groups indicated that they differed significantly in their pattern of MCMI-II Clinical Personality Pattern elevations. The SOC group differed from the panic disorder groups on three MCMI-II Clinical Personality Pattern scales: subjects in the SOC group had significantly higher scale 1 (Schizoid) personality traits than subjects in both the PD+NO/MILD AG and PD+MOD/SEV AC groups; subjects in the SOC group had significantly higher scale 2 (Avoidant) personality traits than subjects in the PD+MOD/SEV AG but not the PD+NO/MILD AG group; and subjects in the SOC group had significantly lower scale 5 (Narcissistic) personality traits than subjects in the PD+NO/MILD AG but not the PD+MOD/SEV AG group. The PD+NO/MILD AG group and the PD+MOD/SEV AG group did not differ on any of the MCMI-II Clinical Personality Pattern scales.In the second part of the study, which examined the relationship of personality profile to outcome of treated panic disorder, two treatment variables were investigated: (1) the reduction of benzodiazepine dose (Xanax) over a six-month time period, and (2) the remission of symptoms after six months. The personality patterns of subjects who were able to reduce their dose of Xanax at six months following start of treatment were not significantly different from the profiles of patients who maintained or increased their dose of Xanax. There were also no significant differences between patients whose symptoms had remitted after six months, and patients whose symptoms had not remitted after six months on the 10 MCMI-II Clinical Personality Pattern scales. The implications of these findings for the relationship between personality factors and the expression and treatment of panic disorder and social phobia were discussed.


Psychology, Clinical

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