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Clin Psychol Rev. 1998 Apr;18(3):341-65.

Catastrophic cognitions in panic disorder with and without agoraphobia.

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School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.


The cognitive models of panic disorder with (PDA) or without (PD) agoraphobia are now widely recognised. These models propose that patients misinterpret external or internal cues in a catastrophic manner and as a result of these catastrophic cognitions the symptoms are maintained. There is now a large body of empirical evidence for this proposal and the aim of this paper is to systematically review the literature to evaluate whether the empirical evidence supports the contribution of catastrophic cognitions to PD and PDA. Empirical studies using different methodologies, such as interview, questionnaire, self-monitoring, and in vivo techniques are reviewed. The results indicate there is substantial empirical evidence in support of the central role of catastrophic cognition in cognitive models. Different methodologies provided convergent support for the importance of catastrophic cognitions in the maintenance of panic disorder and agoraphobia. Limitations in the interpretation of the existing research are highlighted and future research directions are proposed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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