Epidemiological studies indicate that separation anxiety disorder occurs more frequently in adults than children. It is unclear whether the presence of adult separation anxiety disorder (ASAD) is a manifestation of anxious attachment, or a form of agoraphobia, or a specific condition with clinically significant consequences. We conducted a study to examine these questions. A sample of 141 adult outpatients with panic disorder participated in the study. Participants completed standardized measures of separation anxiety, attachment style, agoraphobia, panic disorder severity and quality of life. Patients with ASAD (49.5% of our sample) had greater panic symptom severity and more impairment in quality of life than those without separation anxiety. We found a greater rate of symptoms suggestive of anxious attachment among panic patients with ASAD compared to those without ASAD. However, the relationship between ASAD and attachment style is not strong, and adult ASAD occurs in some patients who report secure attachment style. Similarly, there is little evidence for the idea that separation anxiety disorder is a form of agoraphobia. Factor analysis shows clear differentiation of agoraphobic and separation anxiety symptoms. Our data corroborate the notion that ASAD is a distinct condition associated with impairment in quality of life and needs to be better recognized and treated in patients with panic disorder.

The relationships among separation anxiety disorder, adult attachment style and agoraphobia in patients with panic disorder

PINI, STEFANO;ABELLI, MARIANNA;CASSANO, GIOVANNI BATTISTA;
2014

Abstract

Epidemiological studies indicate that separation anxiety disorder occurs more frequently in adults than children. It is unclear whether the presence of adult separation anxiety disorder (ASAD) is a manifestation of anxious attachment, or a form of agoraphobia, or a specific condition with clinically significant consequences. We conducted a study to examine these questions. A sample of 141 adult outpatients with panic disorder participated in the study. Participants completed standardized measures of separation anxiety, attachment style, agoraphobia, panic disorder severity and quality of life. Patients with ASAD (49.5% of our sample) had greater panic symptom severity and more impairment in quality of life than those without separation anxiety. We found a greater rate of symptoms suggestive of anxious attachment among panic patients with ASAD compared to those without ASAD. However, the relationship between ASAD and attachment style is not strong, and adult ASAD occurs in some patients who report secure attachment style. Similarly, there is little evidence for the idea that separation anxiety disorder is a form of agoraphobia. Factor analysis shows clear differentiation of agoraphobic and separation anxiety symptoms. Our data corroborate the notion that ASAD is a distinct condition associated with impairment in quality of life and needs to be better recognized and treated in patients with panic disorder.
Pini, Stefano; Abelli, Marianna; Troisi, Alfonso; Siracusano, Alberto; Cassano, GIOVANNI BATTISTA; Shear, Katherine M.; Baldwin, David
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11568/844007
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