Understanding Anxiety Disorders from a “Triple Vulnerability” Framework

Liza M. Suárez, Shannon M. Bennett, Clark R. Goldstein and David H. Barlow

in Oxford Handbook of Anxiety and Related Disorders

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780195307030
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Understanding Anxiety Disorders from a “Triple Vulnerability” Framework

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  • Clinical Psychology



This chapter provides a review of research findings on the nature of anxiety and panic, and a summary and update of Barlow's (1988, 2000, 2002) theory of triple vulnerability in the etiology of anxiety and its disorders. A description of the nature of anxiety is followed by an explication of the emotion of fear, and panic. A model of an integrated set of vulnerabilities is summarized, including a generalized biological (heritable) vulnerability, a generalized psychological vulnerability based on early experiences that contributes to the development of a sense of control over salient events, and a more specific psychological vulnerability associated with learning experiences that serve to focus anxiety on specific objects or situations.

Keywords: animals; anxiety disorders; behavioral genetic; development; temperament; theories of etiology; traits; vulnerability

Article.  15398 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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