Preliminary validation of a screening tool for adolescent panic disorder in pediatric primary care clinics

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5 Scopus citations


This study examines the validity of a brief screening tool for adolescent panic disorder (PD) in a primary care setting. A total of 165 participants (ages 12-17 years) seen in two pediatric primary care clinics completed the Autonomic Nervous System Questionnaire (ANS; Stein et al. in Psychosomatic Med 61:359-364, 40). A subset of those screening positive (n = 22) and negative (n = 23) for panic symptoms on the ANS completed follow-up phone interviews assessing fit with DSM-IV criteria for panic disorder, self-reported anxiety and depression symptom severity, anxiety-related correlates, and functional impairment. A two-question version of the ANS demonstrated excellent sensitivity (Se = 1.00), but lower specificity (Sp = 0.47) for PD diagnostic status. Three-question and five-question versions modestly improved specificity (Sp = 0.57 and 0.65, respectively). In addition, screen-positive participants reported higher panic symptoms, anxiety sensitivity, and functional impairment, relative to screen-negative participants. Preliminary results suggest the ANS may be a valid screening tool for PD among adolescents, while simultaneously being brief and easy to score. Replication with larger samples is recommended as one related future research endeavor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-183
Number of pages13
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Adolescents
  • Panic disorder
  • Primary care
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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