Abstract Environmental factors, in addition to genetic factors, may be related to the development of panic attack (PA) and panic disorder (PD). Previous studies suggested that there may be seasonal variation in the onset of PA/PD and possibly a higher prevalence of PA/PD in colder areas. Also observed were lactate-induced PA and elevated serum cholesterol in PD patients. These suggest that living environment and lifestyle, such as weather conditions, preference of food and physical exercise, might play a role in the occurrence of PA and PD. The present study explored the association of such candidate factors with the development of PA and PD in 4000 Japanese subjects, using a questionnaire. The subjects were recruited from the general population of Japan, using stratified random sampling. Logistic regression with stepwise selection of variables was employed for statistical analysis. Variables including ‘dislike of physical exercise’, mostly in female subjects, and ‘living in areas with longer winter’, in male subjects, were suggested for associations with PA and PD among the candidate factors. The result is preliminary but indicates that lifestyle such as like/dislike of physical exercise and environmental factors including weather conditions could play a partial role in the development of PA and PD. Further investigations are required before firm conclusions can be reached.