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The Pathoplasty Relationship Between Anxiety Sensitivity and Panic Disorder

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Technical Report

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Uniformed Services University Of The Health Sciences Bethesda United States

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Anxiety sensitivity AS, a belief that symptoms of anxiety e.g., autonomic arousal can be harmful Reiss and McNally, 1985, predisposes individuals to the development of panic disorder PD. A pathoplasty relationship between two variables is defined when a dispositional variable is associated with the expression or course of a clinical condition.The theoretical and empirical literature on the pathoplastic relationship between AS and PD has only addressed limited aspects of the expression and course of PD in relation tothe total AS score. In addition, there bas been no evaluation of the pathoplastic relationship between lower-order empirically-established AS dimensions and the full range of PD expression and course. This study examined the pathoplasty relationship of total AS and its lower-order sub-factors with variables representing a full range of the expression and course of panic disorder. One hundred and thirty one adults with formally-diagnosed PD volunteered for participation in a PD assessment and treatment research protocol. Information on the expression and course of PD Panic frequency, intensity, anticipation, avoidance, and core fears was derived from clinician-rated and self-report measures collected at pre- and post-treatment phases of the study. The three major findings include 1 AS is related to the major features of PD expression and course, 2 changes in AS correspond to changes in these features, and 3 AS lower order factors possess specific relationships with features of PO expression and course. These findings suggest that AS is related to the maintenance and treatment of PD. In addition, the specific relationships among AS lower-order factors and PO expression and course features help clarify the means by which AS contributes to the maintenance and treatment of PD, which may lead to improved assessment and treatment models.


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