Factors affecting the threshold for seeking care: the Panic Attack Care-Seeking Threshold (PACT) Study.

J. P. Realini, D. A. Katerndahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: This study was conducted to explore the phenomenon of seeking medical care for panic attacks and to identify factors associated with seeking care. METHODS: A community sample of adults was screened using the Structured Clinical Interview of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd edition. Subjects who had experienced panic attacks participated in a structured interview concerning their health care access and utilization, panic characteristics, comorbidity, illness attitudes and perceptions, and family characteristics. RESULTS: Forty-one percent of the subjects had not sought medical care for their panic attacks. Having to get someone to drive (RR [relative risk] = 1.8; P = 0.0026), inability to work because of panic (RR = 1.6; P = 0.0054), and a high treatment experience score on the Illness Attitude Scales (RR = 1.5; P = 0.034) independently predicted seeking care. Seeking support was also significantly associated with seeking care (t = -4.05; P = 0.0001). Care seekers tended to have more severe symptoms, stronger symptom perceptions, and more bodily preoccupation and to abuse drugs more frequently. Seeking care was not influenced by sex, race or ethnicity, stress, psychiatric comorbidity, family function, social support, or access to health care. CONCLUSIONS: Nearly one-half of persons with panic attacks do not seek care for their attacks. Those who seek care differ from those who do not in ways that have important implications for the understanding of this illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-223
Number of pages9
JournalThe Journal of the American Board of Family Practice / American Board of Family Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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