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Behav Res Ther. 2007 Jan;45(1):11-9. Epub 2006 Mar 20.

Effects of perceived criticism on anxiety and depression during behavioral treatment of anxiety disorders.

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Boston University, School of Social Work, 264 Bay State Rd., Boston, MA 02215, USA.


The present study explored the effect of perceived criticism (PC) on levels of anxiety and depression during behavioral treatment among patients diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or panic disorder with agoraphobia (PDA). We posited that patients' perceptions of relatives' criticism and the degree to which they were upset by the criticism (UC) would be related to negative affect and discomfort during exposure. The sample included 75 patients with a primary diagnosis of OCD (n=43) or PDA (n=32) and their participating relatives. Measures of patients' weekly ratings of PC and upset about the criticism, anxious and depressed mood, and subjective discomfort during exposure treatment were analyzed using a mixed model regression approach (SAS Proc Mixed). Patients' anxious and depressed mood predicted greater discomfort during exposure. Patients who were more UC also had higher weekly ratings of anxiety and depression, and more discomfort during exposure sessions. Findings suggest that treatment outcome may be improved by attention to patients' reactions to their interpersonal environment.

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