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08-06-2016 | Brief Report | Uitgave 6/2016

Cognitive Therapy and Research 6/2016

A Pilot Open Trial of Cognitive Bias Modification for Panic Disorder

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 6/2016
Courtney Beard, Cara Fuchs, Anu Asnaani, Molly Schulson, Casey A. Schofield, Elise M. Clerkin, Risa B. Weisberg


Although cognitive biases are involved in the maintenance of panic disorder (PD), cognitive bias modification (CBM) has not been tested in PD. The current study developed and piloted a combined CBM-attention/CBM-interpretation PD treatment to determine initial acceptability and efficacy. Ten individuals diagnosed with PD (nine with Agoraphobia) were asked to complete 8, 20-min sessions of a CBM-A (Dot Probe task with fearful faces) and CBM-I (Word-Sentence Association Paradigm) intervention. Cognitive bias, panic symptom severity, and anxiety during interoceptive exercises were assessed at pre- and post-assessments. At post-treatment, participants showed increased benign interpretations, reduced threat interpretations of ambiguous panic situations, and reported significantly less severe panic symptoms with six individuals meeting criteria for remission. Anticipatory anxiety for interoceptive exercises decreased following treatment, but duration of exercises and anxiety following the exercises did not. Results suggest that further testing of the treatment and putative mechanisms of action is warranted.

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