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Behav Res Ther. 1989;27(4):373-83.

Role of cognitive appraisal in panic-related avoidance.


The present study examined several dimensions of panic cognitions to test whether panic appraisals predict phobicity among panic sufferers. Thirty-five patients meeting DSM-III-R criteria for panic disorder with minimal or no phobic avoidance were compared to 40 patients meeting DSM-III-R criteria for panic disorder with agoraphobia (severe). The two groups looked strikingly similar on measures of panic symptoms, panic frequency and panic severity. As expected, patients diagnosed as having panic disorder with agoraphobia reported significantly more depression and phobic avoidance than patients with PD. Striking differences emerged on each of the following panic appraisal dimensions: (a) anticipated panic, (b) perceived consequences of panic, and (c) perceived self-efficacy in coping with panic. In each case, patients with panic disorder and agoraphobia reported significantly more dysfunctional panic appraisals than patients with panic disorder and no avoidance. Of those panic appraisal dimensions studied, anticipated panic emerged as the most potent correlate of agoraphobic avoidance. These findings support the hypothesis that cognitive appraisal factors may play an important role in the genesis or maintenance of phobic avoidance among panic patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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