ABSTRACT

Definition ofPanic. Precise referents of "panic" are not consistently identifiable. "Almost every kind of socially disorganizing or personally disrupting type of activity has been characterized as panic. The range includes everything fronl psychiatric to economic phenomena (e.g., the 'panics' involved in bank runs, stock-market crashes, depressions, etc.)."1 In addition, different aspects of these diverse events are treated as the essence of panic. Sometimes panic is defined in behavioristic terms-"an animal-like stampede in which wildly excited people crush each other to death"; or it may refer to an internal feeling of intense terror "with or without justification"; or to non-adaptive or useless behavior in general; or to the contagion of fear.2 Thus the literature yields few coherent definitions of " panic."3