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In the present vulnerability study individuals with high (n = 35) and low (n = 124) anxiety sensitivity (AS) made ratings of anticipated distress, catastrophic misinterpretations and benign more realistic alternative explanations to 24 hypothetical scenarios involving physical sensations. The physical sensation scenarios were a modification of the Body Sensations Interpretation Questionnaire (Clark et al. in J Consult Clin Psychol 65:203–213, 1997) and varied in level of expectedness across panic-related and nonpanic-related scenarios. Group comparisons revealed that the high AS group reported significantly higher levels of distress and more catastrophic misinterpretations to all physical sensation scenarios, although no group differences were found in ratings of realistic interpretations. A significant Group × Expectedness interaction indicated that high AS individuals generated more catastrophic misinterpretations to all unexpected physical sensation scenarios. The findings support the centrality of catastrophic misinterpretation as the key cognitive construct in panic disorder as well as aspects of Telch et al.’s (J Anxiety Disor 25: 645–653, 2011) context-sensitivity perspective on panic.
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- Context in Anxiety Sensitivity: The Role of Expectancy, Catastrophic Misinterpretations and Diminished Reappraisal in Response to Hypothetical Physical Arousal Scenarios
Catherine A. Hilchey
David A. Clark
- Springer US