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10-08-2020 | Original Article | Uitgave 6/2020 Open Access

Cognitive Therapy and Research 6/2020

Are Catastrophic Misinterpretations of Bodily Sensations Typical for Patients with Panic Disorder? An Experimental Study of Patients with Panic Disorder or Other Anxiety Disorders and Healthy Controls

Tijdschrift:
Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 6/2020
Auteurs:
Barnabas Ohst, Brunna Tuschen-Caffier
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Abstract

Background

Research on catastrophic misinterpretations of bodily sensations in patients with a diagnosis of panic disorder has yielded inconsistent findings concerning the question of how typical these misinterpretations are and how this compares with other anxiety disorders. Limitations of assessment strategies concerning catastrophic misinterpretations have been discussed. We assessed catastrophic misinterpretations by activating participants’ fear memory, as has been suggested.

Methods

Participants in the experimental group (EG) were shown a suspenseful film clip to induce physiological arousal before completing a measure of catastrophic misinterpretation (BSIQ-FR). Skin conductance level (SCL) was used as marker for physiological arousal.

Results

As expected, the film manipulation led to a significant increase in physiological arousal in the EG compared to the control group (CG) across all disorder groups. ANOVAs did not show significant interactions between factors Group (Panic Disorder, Other Anxiety Disorder, and Healthy Controls) and Condition (EG, CG). However, comparison of means indicated that participants with panic disorder showed more catastrophic misinterpretations of bodily sensations than patients with other anxiety disorders in the EG, but not in the CG.

Conclusions

The findings indicate that the activation of fear memory via induction of physiological arousal facilitated the measurement of catastrophic misinterpretations, and provide further evidence that catastrophic misinterpretations of bodily sensations are typical for panic disorder.

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