Psychophysiological response patterns in panic disorder

R. Hoehn‐Saric, D. R. McLeod, W. D. Zimmerli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


To determine whether panic disorder patients exhibit physiological hyper‐arousal during rest or during mild, non‐panic‐inducing stress, 18 patients who experienced frequent panic attacks were compared with nonanxious controls on a battery of physiological assessments. During baseline, patients with panic disorder exhibited higher forehead electromyographic activity, higher systolic blood pressure and higher heart rates than non‐anxious volunteers. During psychological stress, heart rate and systolic blood pressure rose more in patients with panic disorder than in nonanxious controls. The skin conductance response, however, was greater and more variable in the nonanxious controls. The results suggest that panic disorder patients with frequent panic attacks exhibit heightened cardiovascular arousal and decreased electrodermal flexibility than nonanxious people, even in nonthreatening situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-11
Number of pages8
JournalActa Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • cardiovascular response
  • electrodermal response
  • panic disorder
  • psychophysiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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