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Psychiatry Res. 1991 Oct;39(1):89-98.

Avoidant and dependent personality traits in relatives of patients with panic disorder, patients with dependent personality disorder, and normal controls.

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  • 1Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston.


Psychiatric researchers have long wondered whether personality traits might predispose toward or be integral to Axis I illnesses. The question is difficult to address because acute illness can either create personality traits or distort their measurement. The present study bypassed that problem by examining personality traits in relatives of patients. Panic disorder, dependent personality disorder, and control subjects were the proband groups. A cluster of traits that appeared to reflect low social self-confidence combined with a desire for social interaction occurred significantly more often in relatives of patients in both groups.

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