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Psychiatry Res. 1993 May;47(2):151-62.

Personality and benzodiazepine sensitivity in anxious patients and control subjects.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle.


Cloninger has recently proposed a model of personality variability that is based on three independent heritable traits of harm avoidance, novelty seeking, and reward dependence, each of which is thought to be mediated by a separate neurochemical and neuroanatomic mechanism. The current study tested hypotheses generated on the basis of this theory in anxious patients and control subjects. Eighteen patients with panic disorder, 12 patients with generalized anxiety disorder, and 21 control subjects underwent both personality testing and assessment of their sensitivity to diazepam, as measured by slowing of saccadic eye movement velocity. As expected, anxious patients displayed higher harm avoidance scores than controls. Although an inverse correlation between harm avoidance and benzodiazepine sensitivity was predicted, no relationship between these variables was found in any diagnostic group. However, a significant correlation was found between novelty-seeking scores and sensitivity to diazepam. This finding, although not predicted by Cloninger's theory, is consistent with prior preclinical and human studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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