Cognitive Vulnerability in the Context of Panic: Assessment of Panic-Related Associations and Interpretations in Individuals with Varying Levels of Anxiety Sensitivity
Zahler L., Sommer K., Reinecke A., Wilhelm FH., Margraf J., Woud ML.
© 2020, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. Background: Cognitive models of panic disorder (PD) highlight the role of panic-related associations and interpretations. However, results are mixed and rely on specific measures. This study examined panic-related associations and interpretations using established and new paradigms in individuals varying on anxiety sensitivity (AS). Methods: Associations were measured using a priming task and a novel Single Target Implicit Association Test (STIAT); interpretations were assessed using the Interpretation Bias Questionnaire (IBQ) and a novel Scrambled Sentences Task (SST). Symptoms were assessed via a provocation task (Straw Breathing Task, SBT). Results: Panic-related interpretations correlated with AS and other PD-related measures. Of the association tasks, only the priming task correlated with one of the other PD-related measures. Panic-related interpretations assessed via the SST, but not priming, STIAT, and IBQ, predicted SBT reactivity. The relationship between AS and SBT reactivity was mediated by panic-related interpretations. Conclusions: Our data provide support for panic-related interpretations as an important cognitive mechanism.