Use of the Panic Attack Questionnaire-IV to assess non-clinical panic attacks and limited symptom panic attacks in Student and Community Samples

Peter J. Norton, Michael J. Zvolensky, Brian J. Cox, G. Ron Norton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Since its development in the mid-1980s, the Panic Attack Questionnaire (PAQ) has been one of the more, if not the most, commonly used self-report tools for assessing panic attacks. The usage of the instrument, however, has come amid potential concerns that instructions and descriptions may lead to an over-estimate of the prevalence of panic attacks. Furthermore, the instrument has not been revised since 1992, despite changes in DSM-IV criteria and more recent developments in the understanding of panic attacks. As a result, this paper describes a revision of the PAQ to improve the instruction and descriptive set, and to fully assess features of panic derived from recent conceptualizations. Students meeting DSM-IV panic attack criteria and those endorsing panic attacks, but not meeting criteria, showed few differences with the exception that those not meeting DSM-IV criteria typically reported a longer onset-to-peak intensity time than did Panickers. Results were cross-validated and extended using an independent Community Sample. A full descriptive phenomenology of panic attacks is described, and future directions for studying panic attacks using the PAQ are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1159-1171
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Limited symptom panic attack
  • Panic attack
  • Panic Attack Questionnaire
  • Panic Disorder

Cite this