Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below

Startle modulation in children at risk for anxiety disorders and/or alcoholism.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.



To examine the startle reflex as a possible vulnerability marker among offspring of parents with anxiety disorders and/or alcoholism.


The subjects were 66 male and female offspring (aged 10 to 17 years) of proband who participated in a family study of comorbidity of alcoholism and anxiety disorders. Testing consisted of examining the startle reflex and its modulation by prepulse stimuli (prepulse facilitation and prepulse inhibition).


Different components of the startle discriminated among children of parents with anxiety disorders, children of alcoholics, and children of normal controls. Specifically startle magnitude was elevated in children with a parental history of an anxiety disorder, whereas startle habituation and prepulse inhibition were impaired in children with a parental history of alcoholism.


These findings suggest that individual differences in the startle reflex may serve as a vulnerability marker for the development of anxiety disorders and alcohol problems.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk