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Health Psychol. 1997 Mar;16(2):114-22.

Nonpsychiatric medical comorbidity, health perceptions, and treatment outcome in patients with panic disorder.

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  • 1Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland 20901-4709, USA.


Panic disorder is frequently complicated by high rates of co-occurring nonpsychiatric medical conditions. The present study examined the relationship between medical morbidity, perceived physical health, and treatment outcome in panic disorder. Patients meeting the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders (1994) criteria for panic disorder (N = 71) completed 12 sessions of cognitive-behavioral treatment and were assessed at posttreatment and 6-month follow-up. Medical comorbidity and perceived health were both found to be related to end-state functioning. Medical comorbidity did not uniquely predict outcome beyond its shared variance with perceived health. At posttreatment, 71% of patients who perceived their physical health as good met recovery criteria compared with only 35% of those who perceived their health as poor. At follow-up, 67% of those who perceived their physical health as good met composite recovery criteria compared with only 33% of those with perceived poor health. These findings offer preliminary support for the impact of physical health, both actual and perceived, on treatment outcome of patients with panic disorder.

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