Subjects from a family study who had panic disorder and generalized
anxiety disorder were compared on the pattern of their symptoms, age and
type of onset, personality characteristics, course of illness, and outcome.
Subjects with generalized anxiety disorder were shown to have fewer
autonomic symptoms and an earlier, more gradual onset. Their illness was
also observed to have a more chronic course and a more favorable outcome,
although these differences were not statistically significant. The validity
of generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder as discrete diagnostic
entities is supported.