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Behav Res Ther. 2001 Aug;39(8):961-6.

Panic symptoms during trauma and acute stress disorder.

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  • 1School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.


This study investigated the role of panic symptoms that occur during trauma and subsequent acute stress disorder (ASD). Civilian trauma (N=51) survivors with either acute stress disorder (ASD), subclinical ASD, or no acute stress disorder (non-ASD) were administered the Acute Stress Disorder Scale, Impact of Event Scale, Beck Anxiety Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory, and the Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI). Participants also completed the Physical Reactions Scale to index panic symptoms that occurred during their trauma. Overall, 53% of participants reported panic attacks during their trauma. ASD and subclinical ASD participants reported more peritraumatic panic symptoms, and higher ASI scores, than non-ASD participants. These findings are consistent with the notion that peritraumatic panic may be related to subsequent posttraumatic stress, and suggest that modification of maladaptive beliefs about physical sensations should be addressed in posttraumatic therapy.

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