Original Paper

Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 48, Issue 5, pp 711-723

First online:

Panic disorder among African Americans, Caribbean blacks and non-Hispanic whites

  • Debra Siegel LevineAffiliated withUniversity of Michigan Email author 
  • , Joseph A. HimleAffiliated withUniversity of Michigan
  • , Robert Joseph TaylorAffiliated withUniversity of Michigan
  • , Jamie M. AbelsonAffiliated withUniversity of Michigan
  • , Niki MatuskoAffiliated withUniversity of Michigan
  • , Jordana MuroffAffiliated withBoston University
  • , James JacksonAffiliated withUniversity of Michigan

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This study investigated co-morbidities, level of disability, service utilization and demographic correlates of panic disorder (PD) among African Americans, Caribbean blacks and non-Hispanic white Americans.


Data are from the National Survey of American Life (NSAL) and the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication (NCS-R).


Non-Hispanic whites are the most likely to develop PD across the lifespan compared to the black subgroups. Caribbean blacks were found to experience higher levels of functional impairment. There were no gender differences found in prevalence of PD in Caribbean blacks, indicating that existing knowledge about who is at risk for developing PD (generally more prevalent in women) may not be true among this subpopulation. Furthermore, Caribbean blacks with PD were least likely to use mental health services compared to African Americans and non-Hispanic whites.


This study demonstrates that PD may affect black ethnic subgroups differently, which has important implications for understanding the nature and etiology of the disorder.


Panic Ethnicity Epidemiology Anxiety