Anxiety Mood.  2021 Apr;17(1):41-47. 10.24986/anxmod.2021.17.1.006.

Impairment of Working Memory in Patients with Panic Disorder

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Workplace Mental Health Institute, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Seoul, Korea


: The purpose of this study was to investigate the impairment of working memory in patients with panic disorder through neuropsychological examination.
: A total of 38 patients who met the DSM-5 criteria for panic disorder and 40 healthy controls were recruited in this study. Controls and patients were matched for age, sex, and education. The Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAMA), the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD), and the Panic Disorder Severity Scale (PDSS) were used to evaluate the severities of anxiety, depression, and panic disorder. Further, the digit span task was performed to assess working memory. In addition, a sub-analysis was performed after excluding participants with clinical depressive symptoms. Finally, a sub-analysis by the education level was performed.
: The HAMA, HAMD, and PDSS scores were significantly higher for patients with panic disorder compared to controls. The scores of digit span forward, digit span backward, digit span sequencing, and total digit span were significantly lower for patients with panic disorder compared to controls. In the sub-analyses excluding patients with depression and by education level, the score of total digit span was significantly lower for patients with panic disorder compared to controls.
: In this study, patients with panic disorder had deficits in working memory compared to healthy controls.


Panic disorder; Working memory; Digit span task; Cognitive function.
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