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The role of self-focused attention in panic disorder and depression

Kirby, Helen; (1997) The role of self-focused attention in panic disorder and depression. Doctoral thesis (D.Clin.Psy.), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Several current cognitive models of panic suggest that hypervigilance for somatic sensations may contribute to the onset and maintenance of panic disorder. This study uses constructs and methods drawn from the literature on self-focused attention to assess levels of somatic attention in panic disorder. Patients with concurrent panic disorder and depression (n = 20) were compared with three other groups (patients with depression, high anxiety controls, low anxiety controls, n = 20 per group) on three measures of somatic self-focused attention. Panickers were found to report significantly more thoughts indicative of somatic attention than any other group of participants. The design allowed the elimination of depression (which is known to enhance self-focus) as an explanation for the observed effects and enabled us to test whether any cognitive bias was present as a possible risk factor for psychopathology in high anxiety controls as suggested by Eysenck (1992). Implications of the findings both for theories of panic and for treatment strategies based on attentional retraining are discussed.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: D.Clin.Psy.
Title: The role of self-focused attention in panic disorder and depression
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Psychology; Depression
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10098972
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