Temperament, character and anxiety sensitivity in panic disorder: A high-risk study

Giampaolo Perna, Danila Di Pasquale, Massimiliano Grassi, Giovanna Vanni, Laura Bellodi, Daniela Caldirola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Adult patients with panic disorder (PD) show high levels of harm avoidance and anxiety sensitivity. Peculiar temperament profiles and high anxiety sensitivity have been proposed as developmental risk factors for PD in adult age. Since familial-genetic influences play a role both in PD and in anxiety sensitivity and temperament profiles, this study aims to investigate the possible association between family history of PD and peculiar temperament-character profiles or high anxiety sensitivity in offspring of patients with PD. Sampling and Methods: Thirty-four children of patients with PD with/without agoraphobia and 30 children of healthy subjects were compared. Temperament and character dimensions and anxiety sensitivity levels of children were obtained by the Junior Temperament and Character Inventory and the Childhood Anxiety Sensitivity Index. Results: Children of patients with PD and children of healthy subjects differed neither in temperament and character dimensions nor in anxiety sensitivity levels. Conclusions: Our results show that family history of PD is not associated with peculiar temperament and character profiles or high anxiety sensitivity in children, suggesting that these factors may not be early expressions of familial vulnerability to PD. Since the sample is small and the study has a cross-sectional design, longitudinal studies in larger samples are warranted to confirm these findings and to clarify the role of anxiety sensitivity and temperament-character dimensions in the development of PD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-304
Number of pages5
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


  • Anxiety sensitivity
  • Character
  • Children
  • High risk
  • Panic disorder
  • Temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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