Although cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is considered a first-line treatment, not all youth have a positive treatment response, suggesting need for investigating factors that may enhance or reduce treatment effects. Few studies have investigated predictors of treatment response in pediatric OCD, and there is an absence of studies examining the influence of treatment process variables (e.g., therapeutic alliance [TA]) on treatment outcome. Using a multiple-informant and multiple-time point design, the current study examined the role of the TA in family-based CBT for pediatric OCD. Analyses examined (1) the predictive value of the TA on OCD symptom reduction and (2) whether changes in the TA over time predict treatment response. Findings indicated that (1) stronger child-rated, parent-rated, and therapist-rated TAs were predictive of better treatment outcome and (2) larger and more positive early alliance shifts (as rated by changes in child-rated TA between sessions 1 and 5) were predictive of better treatment outcome. Implications for the treatment of youth with OCD within family-based CBT are discussed.
The purpose of this study was to assess the naturalistic long-term course of panic disorder over a period of 11 years.
Thirty DSM-III-R panic disorder patients, who had suffered from panic disorder for 6 years on average and who had taken part in an 8-week multicenter drug trial, were included in the intent-to-follow-up group to be reinterviewed 11 years after the end of the trial. At baseline and at follow-up the same instruments were used to assess frequency of panic attacks, level of phobic avoidance, and disabilities. Treatments received during the follow-up period and attempted suicides were assessed with a structured interview. Periods of well-being during the follow-up period were elicited retrospectively with a specifically designed longitudinal chart.
Twenty-four patients could actually be reinterviewed after 11.3 years. While at baseline all patients had suffered from panic attacks and had been severely disabled on a number of measures, 66.7% had no panic attack during the year before follow-up. During the month before follow-up 87.5% had no panic attack, and 54% showed no or only mild phobic avoidance. In the areas of work and family life 90% showed no or only mild disabilities, whereas in the area of social life this percentage was lower (67%). Thirty-three percent of the patients were completely remitted according to a composite remission criterion.
Panic disorder is not a uniformly chronic and progressing disorder. Over a period of 11 years there is a good chance of recovery from panic attacks and disabilities, and full remission is also possible.
The link between anxiety and negative social expectancies was examined by comparing 47 anxiety-disordered children with 31 nonanxiety-disordered controls on social expectancies, social anxiety, and self-perceived social competence. Participants were exposed to a videotape of confederate children playing a game, being told the children were next door. In anticipation of joining the play, social expectations were assessed via thought-listing and a questionnaire. Parent, teacher, and child measures of sociability were completed prior to the experimental session. Results indicated that anxiety-disordered children reported significantly more negative social expectations, lower social self-competence, and higher levels of social anxiety than controls. Parents and teachers each rated the anxiety-disordered children as significantly more socially maladjusted than controls. Social anxiety was the best predictor of social expectancies. Given the importance of healthy peer relations, treatment implications for anxiety-disordered children are highlighted.
Although a considerable number of people either witnessed directly or in the mass media the traumatic scenes of the terrorist attack that took place on March 11th, 2004 in Madrid, only a fraction of Madrid citizens developed posttraumatic symptoms. In this study, posttraumatic stress-related symptoms, degree of exposure, coping strategies related to the attack, and chronic attempts to avoid intrusive thoughts (i.e., thought suppression) were assessed in a general population Madrid sample (N=503) 2-3 weeks after the attacks. Our results showed that participants with higher scores in chronic thought suppression exhibited higher levels of PTSD symptoms. Higher scores in chronic thought suppression also correlated positively with the use of avoidant coping strategies after the attacks. We discuss the possible common roots of avoidance of intrusive thoughts and avoidant coping strategies and the implications of this relationship for the emergence of stress-related symptoms as well as for public health policies.
Although there is evidence that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is effective in the treatment for fear of flying (FOF), there are no studies that specifically examine which skills taught in treatment are being used by clients after treatment is completed. This study examines whether participants report using skills taught in treatment for FOF after treatment is completed and whether the reported use of these skills is associated with reduced flying anxiety in the face of fear-relevant event, the September 11th terrorist attacks, and over the long-term. One hundred fifteen participants were randomly assigned to and completed eight sessions of individual CBT treatment for FOF. Fifty-five participants were reassessed in June 2002, an average of 2.3 years after treatment. Surveys were also collected from 33 individuals who did not receive treatment for FOF. Results indicated that treatment completers were more likely to report using skills taught in treatment than individuals who had not received treatment. In addition, self-reported use of skills among previously treated individuals was associated with lower levels of flying anxiety. These findings suggest that use of skills taught in CBT treatment is associated with reduced flying anxiety in the face of a fear-relevant event and over the long term.
With the extensive media coverage on September 11, 2001, adults and children indirectly witnessed the terrorist attacks leading to the deaths of almost 3,000 people. An ongoing longitudinal study provided the opportunity to examine pre-event characteristics and the impact of this media exposure. We assessed symptoms of PTSD in 166 children and 84 mothers who had no direct exposure to the 9/11 attacks. The sample included children who had parents with or without anxiety and mood disorders, and who had been assessed for the presence or absence of temperamental behavioral inhibition (BI). We found a 5.4 percent rate of symptomatic PTSD in response to 9/11 in children and 1.2 percent in their mothers. Children's identification with victims of the attack, and for younger children, the amount of television viewing predicted increased risk of PTSD symptoms. Parental depression was associated with higher symptoms, and pre-event levels of family support was associated with a lower risk for PTSD symptoms. BI in children was also linked to lower rates of PTSD symptoms, suggesting that a cautious and fearful approach to novelty may offer protection against exposure to media-based traumatic images. Media viewing of tragic events is sufficient to produce PTSD symptoms in vulnerable populations such as children. Given the links between PTSD symptoms and viewing habits, parental monitoring of media exposure may be important for younger children.
The present study examined the relationships between memories for a single incident traumatic event - the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center (WTC)--and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 2641 disaster restoration workers deployed at the WTC site in the aftermath of the attack were evaluated longitudinally, one year apart, for PTSD, using clinical interviews. Their recollection of the traumatic events was also assessed at these times. The results showed that recall of traumatic events amplified over time and that increased endorsement of traumas at Time 2 was associated with more severe PTSD symptoms. It was also shown that, of all the exposure variables targeted, memory of the perception of life threat and of seeing human remains were differentially associated with PTSD symptoms. Implications of the results are also discussed.
We investigated the effects of the 1998 Swissair Flight 111 (SA 111) disaster on a variety of indices of alcohol use among volunteer responders. We retrospectively administered standardized questionnaires and a semi-structured interview to 13 volunteer disaster workers recruited from the community. According to the interview, 54% of the volunteers were exposed to human remains. According to Modified Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Symptoms Scale responses, 46% met DSM-IV criteria for PTSD. Frequency and severity of PTSD symptoms, but not human remains exposure, per se, were positively correlated with coping-motivated drinking (but not social or mood enhancement drinking) and with alcohol use to forget. The re-experiencing and hyper-arousal PTSD symptom dimensions showed the strongest and most consistent correlations with the alcohol use indices. We discuss ways in which the information gleaned from this sample can be used to improve disaster response planning to minimize the probability of maladaptive coping drinking among volunteers.
The present study examined the psychometric properties and diagnostic efficiency of the Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS), a self-report measure of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Participants included 158 U.S. military veterans who have served since September 11, 2001 (post-9/11). Results support the DTS as a valid self-report measure of PTSD symptoms. The DTS demonstrated good internal consistency, concurrent validity, and convergent and divergent validity. Diagnostic efficiency was excellent when discriminating between veterans with PTSD and veterans with no Axis I diagnosis. However, although satisfactory by conventional standards, efficiency was substantially attenuated when discriminating between PTSD and other Axis I diagnoses. Thus, results illustrate that potency of the DTS as a diagnostic aid was highly dependent on the comparison group used for analyses. Results are discussed in terms of applications to clinical practice and research.
Early identification and treatment of social anxiety disorder (SAD) is critical to prevent development of a chronic course of symptoms, persistent functional impairment, and progressive psychiatric comorbidity. A small but growing literature supports the effectiveness of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for anxiety disorders, including SAD, in adolescence. The present randomized controlled trial evaluated the efficacy of group vs. individual CBT for adolescents with generalized SAD in relation to an educational/supportive psychotherapy that did not contain specific CBT elements. All three treatments were associated with significant reductions in symptoms and functional impairment, and in improved social skills. No differences between treatments emerged on measures of symptoms, but the CBT conditions demonstrated greater gains on behavioral measures. The implications of the findings are discussed.
Quality of life (QoL) is a concept that has become increasingly used in mental health care. Recent studies have compared the impact of different anxiety disorders on different domains of QoL; however, instruments generally used to assess QoL in this population have varying specificity, considerable redundancy, and occasionally inappropriate content. Three hundred and sixty consecutive admissions to an anxiety disorders clinic were assessed. Participants and clinicians completed a number of QoL measures. Results indicated that impairment measures designed for use with anxiety-disordered samples in fact assess only occupational functioning and relationships and activities outside of occupation, and that individuals with Social Phobia (SP) were more impaired on the latter than those with Panic Disorder (PD). Furthermore, only Social Phobia accounted for unique variance in the three Medical Outcome Study Health Survey (MOS) subscales relevant to quality of life. Of the MOS subscales relevant to symptoms, mood regulation, physical functioning, and pain were associated with compromised overall QoL.
This study investigated the ultimate causes of co-variation between symptoms of four common DSM-IV anxiety dimensions - Generalized Anxiety, Panic, Social Phobia and Separation Anxiety disorder - assessed with the Italian version of the Screen for Child Anxiety-Related Emotional Disorders questionnaire in a sample of 378 twin pairs aged 8-17 from the population-based Italian Twin Register. Genetic and environmental proportions of covariance between the targeted anxiety dimensions were estimated by multivariate twin analyses. Genetic influences (explaining from 58% to 99% of covariance) and unique environmental factors were the sole sources of co-variation for all phenotypes under study. Genetic influences associated with different anxiety dimensions coincide remarkably, as indicated by genetic correlations ranging from 0.40 to 0.61, while unique environmental overlap is less substantial. Thus, while additive genetic effects are important in explaining why children report symptoms from multiple anxiety disorders, environmental idiosyncratic factors seem to play a marginal role in shaping the co-occurrence of different anxiety dimensions in childhood.
Anxiety disorders typically have an age of onset in childhood and adolescence, resulting in significant disability in social and occupational functioning. Epidemiological evidence suggests that persons with psychiatric disorders and perhaps especially social phobia are at increased risk for premature withdrawal from school [Am. J. Psychiatry 157 (2000) 1606]. In order to further determine the impact of anxiety disorders on school functioning and/or premature withdrawal from school, 201 patients meeting DSM-IV criteria for a primary anxiety disorder completed a school leaving questionnaire as well as self-report measures of anxiety, depression, and social adjustment. About 49% (n = 98) reported leaving school prematurely and 24% of those indicated that anxiety was the primary reason for this decision. Patients who had left school prematurely were significantly more likely to have a lifetime diagnosis of generalized social phobia, a past history of alcohol abuse/dependence and a greater number of lifetime diagnoses than those who completed their desired level of education. This study suggests that anxiety disorders, and perhaps especially generalized social phobia, are associated with premature withdrawal from school. Further studies are required to determine methods for early identification and treatment of anxiety disorders in school aged children to enable these students to reach their full potential.
The interplay between anxiety pathology and substance use disorders is increasingly recognized in empirical and clinical work. The present article serves as a general introduction to the special series highlighting the relationship between a number of anxiety conditions and a variety of substance use disorders. In this overview, we first discuss the importance of better understanding the association between anxiety and substance use and abuse followed by a brief review of each study and their major findings. This set of studies has implications for our understanding of the nature of these conditions as well as their treatment. We hope that this body of work will inspire future research in this important area.
Twenty-three preadolescent children (ages 8-11) meeting criteria for social phobia were randomly assigned to either a 3-week cognitive-behavioral group intervention or a wait-list control group. The intervention consisted of psychoeducation, cognitive strategies, and behavioral exposure. Outcome measures included diagnostic interview as well as parent and child report measures of anxiety and depression. Improvements were observed at posttest, with results stronger for parent report and interviewer ratings than for child self-report. At 3-week follow-up, children receiving the intervention demonstrated significant improvements on the majority of child, parent, and interviewer reports of social anxiety and related symptoms relative to wait-list participants. Preliminary support is provided for the utility of a brief intervention for preadolescent children with social phobia. Limitations and implications for future research are discussed.
Hypochondriasis and panic disorder are both characterized by prevalent health anxieties and illness beliefs. Therefore, the question as to whether they represent distinct nosological entities has been raised. This study examines how clinical characteristics can be used to differentiate both disorders, taking the possibility of mixed symptomatologies (comorbidity) into account. We compared 46 patients with hypochondriasis, 45 with panic disorder, and 21 with comorbid hypochondriasis plus panic disorder. While panic patients had more comorbidity with agoraphobia, hypochondriasis was more closely associated with somatization. Patients with panic disorder were less pathological than hypochondriacal patients on all subscales of the Whiteley Index (WI) and the Illness Attitude Scales (IAS) except for illness behavior. These differences were independent of somatization. Patients with hypochondriasis plus panic had higher levels of anxiety, more somatization, more general psychopathology and a trend towards increased health care utilization. Clinicians were able to distinguish between patient groups based upon the tendency of hypochondriacal patients to demand unnecessary medical treatments. These results confirm that hypochondriasis and panic disorder are distinguishable clinical conditions, characterized by generally more psychopathology and distress in hypochondriasis.
The aim of the current study was to examine trends in anxiety disorder publication over the past 25 years, and to project likely future trends from these. Medline searches were used to find a representative sample of the total number of journal articles published each year from 1980 to 2005 that were focused on each particular anxiety disorder. Results demonstrated that anxiety disorder research continued to grow over the 25-year period examined. Growth was particularly strong for OCD and PTSD, with strong research growth in panic disorder also in the 1980s. Only specific phobia and agoraphobia did not grow in research output over the review period. Growth is projected to continue over the next 10 years.
The psychological consequences of induced abortion are complex and subject to both considerable controversy and methodological criticisms. While many women report feelings of relief immediately after the procedure, others report feelings of anxiety, which they attribute to their abortions. The purpose of the present study was to examine risk of generalized anxiety following unintended pregnancies ending in abortion or childbirth using a large representative sample of American women. Among all women, those who aborted were found to have significantly higher rates of subsequent generalized anxiety when controlling for race and age at interview. Implications of the findings are discussed. In particular, findings highlight the clinical relevance of exploring reproductive history in therapeutic efforts to assist women seeking relief from anxiety.
Much of the debate surrounding the dimensionality of PTSD relates to three specific Hyperarousal symptoms (D1-D3) and whether they are appropriate indicators of one of two broad constructs that constitute PTSD: Dysphoria or Hyperarousal. This study addressed this issue by testing a series of confirmatory factor models to determine which factor, or factors, these symptoms measured the strongest. Data from individuals who satisfied the conditions for Criterion A of the diagnostic criteria for a DSM-IV diagnosis of PTSD (n=12,467) in the 2004-2005 NESARC were used in the analysis. The results revealed that the D1-D3 symptoms were not clear indicators of either factor, but measured both Dysphoria and Hyperarousal. Two symptoms, however, loaded more highly on the Dysphoria, rather than Hyperarousal, factor. The present findings lend support to the factor model proposed by Simms et al. [Simms, L. J., Watson, D., & Doebbeling, B. N. (2002). Confirmatory factor analyses of posttraumatic stress symptoms in deployed and non-deployed veterans of the Gulf War. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 111, 637-647] but also question the use of symptoms that are not unique indicators of specific factors.
The objective of this study was to describe trends in the diagnostic rates for anxiety disorders (ADs) types in the U.S. military from 2000 to 2009. Data for the numbers of diagnosed cases for the first documented occurrence of ADs during ambulatory visits while serving in the military were obtained from the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database for all active duty service members and examined across branch of service and by gender. Results indicate that Anxiety Not Otherwise Specified (ANOS) was the most frequently diagnosed AD type in each of the 10 years between 2000 and 2009, with an average rate of 0.8 per 100 service members for first service occurrence, followed by PTSD at a rate of 0.5 out of every 100. Starting in 2002, the yearly first occurrence rates of ANOS and PTSD were significantly higher (p<0.001) compared to each proceeding year, with the same pattern present among males and females separately. The majority of first occurrence AD diagnoses were diagnosed in the Army (47% of Anxiety NOS and 60% of PTSD cases) compared to the other service branches (i.e., Navy, Air Force, and Marines).
The purpose of this study was to analyze, within a more extensive intervention program, the existence of positive emotions and positive coping in the refugees at the two largest shelters created after the earthquakes of El Salvador in January, 2001. One hundred and fifteen survivors were interviewed in the shelters about different aspects related to positive cognitions and emotions experienced during their sojourn at the camps, as well as their perception of aspects of posttraumatic growth. The results show that most of the people affected by the earthquake revealed a consistent pattern of positive reactions and emotions. The potential implications of these results in the individual sphere, as buffering elements to protect people from the effects of a traumatic experience receive comment.
Data from the 2004 to 2009 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) were used to: (1) characterize changes in utilization and (2) identify factors associated with the use of psychotropic medication among patients with anxiety disorders. We calculated the prevalence, compared the use patterns for each year and drug class, and used logistic regression to identify the factors associated with psychotropic medication use. Patients ever using a psychotropic medication for anxiety grew from 57.4% in 2004 to 63.8% in 2009 (p<0.01). From 2004 to 2009, use of benzodiazepines (22.7-30.5%, p<0.01) and atypical antipsychotics (2.3-3.9%, p<0.01) increased. A high prevalence in the use of benzodiazepines (41.8% in 2004 to 48.8% in 2009) was observed among older adults. Older age, having insurance coverage, and poor health status were significantly associated with self-reported psychotropic medication use. An increase of psychotropic medication use from 2004 to 2009 was observed. A high prevalence and increasing trend in the use of benzodiazepines may warrant further attention given safety concerns in older adults.
McNally and Clancy [McNally, R. J., & Clancy, S. A. (2005). Sleep paralysis in adults reporting repressed, recovered, or continuous memories of childhood sexual abuse. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 19, 595-602.] conducted a study on sleep paralysis among adults reporting either repressed, recovered, or continuous memories of sexual abuse. I suggest that the study be replicated with a larger number of recovered memory subjects (those who believe that they have recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse) who experienced sleep paralysis, using more neutral wording in order to identify the phenomenon of sleep paralysis.
Many studies have suggested that unexpected death of a loved one is an important risk factor of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression among disaster survivors, but few have examined the magnitude of psychiatric morbidities among bereaved survivors. This study examined the prevalence rates of clinically significant PTSD and depressive symptoms and their associated risk factors among Chinese adult survivors following the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Two hundred and fifty-one bereaved adults were compared with 1474 non-bereaved adult survivors. The estimated rates of PTSD and depressive symptoms were 65.6% and 64.8% for those who lost first-degree family members, 34.1% and 45.5% for those who lost second-degree relatives, and 27.1% and 37.5% for non-bereaved survivors respectively. Loss of a child was a significant predictor of psychopathological symptoms. The results suggested that effective and sustainable mental health services were required, especially for bereaved single-child parents.
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the contribution of threat information as provided by the parents to the development of children's fear within the context of the 2009 Swine Flu pandemic. Normal school children aged 7-12 years (N = 223) and their parents completed questionnaires to measure fear of the Swine Flu and general fearfulness for medical affairs. Children and parents were also asked to indicate to what extent parents had provided children with threat-related information about this disease. Results indicated that children's fear of the Swine Flu was significantly related to parents' fear of this disease. Further, it was found that parent's transmission of threat information was positively associated with children's fear and that this link remained significant when controlling for other sources of information (i.e., media, friends, and school) or direct experience with the disease. Most importantly, results showed that threat information as provided by the parents played a role in the association between parents' and children's fear. More precisely, support was found for a partial mediation model in which parents' fear of the Swine Flu was related with parents' threat information transmission, which in turn was associated with children's fear of the disease.
In addition to the central role of compulsive behaviors in obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), recent data have documented the presence of compulsive behaviors in individuals with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). However, there is a lack of information about potential similarities and differences with regard to the quality, or content, of checking associated with worry and obsessions. The two studies presented herein are an initial step towards gathering this information. Findings of Study 1, from a large unselected undergraduate sample, showed that symptoms of OCD and GAD were both significantly associated with checking behaviors. However, while OCD symptoms were associated with checking related to both objects and interpersonal situations, GAD symptoms were only significantly associated with interpersonal checking. Findings of Study 2, using a separate sample, suggest links between interpersonal checking and features characteristic of GAD, namely emotion regulation difficulties, and between object checking and a cognitive feature of OCD, namely thought-action fusion. In summary, the current studies add to a growing body of literature suggesting that checking may be important in numerous forms of psychopathology, while also suggesting that the nature and function of checking may differ for various symptom profiles.
The inclusion of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in DSM-III in 1980 represented a paradigm shift in the conceptualisation of post-trauma illness. Hitherto, a normal psychological reaction to a terrifying event was considered short-term and reversible. Long-term effects, characterized as "traumatic neurosis", were regarded as abnormal. Enduring symptoms were explained in terms of hereditary predisposition, early maladaptive experiences or a pre-existing psychiatric disorder. The event served merely as a trigger to something that existed or was waiting to emerge. Secondary gain, the benefits often but not solely financial that a person derived as a result of being ill, was considered the principal cause of any observed failure to recover. The recognition of PTSD reflected a diversion from the role of the group, in particular the "herd instinct", towards a greater appreciation of the individual's experience. From being the responsibility of the subject, traumatic illness became an external imposition and possibly a universal response to a terrifying and unexpected event. This shift from predisposition to the characteristics of the event itself reduced guilt and blame, while the undermining of secondary gain made it easier to award financial compensation.
Recent attention has been given to the role of emotion regulation in the development and maintenance of psychopathology. Gross [Gross, J. J., & John, O. P. (1998). Mapping the domain of expressivity: multimethod evidence for a hierarchical model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 170-191] provided a framework from which to understand emotion regulation processes, and it is within this framework that the literature on emotion regulation/dysregulation in the anxiety disorder population is reviewed, with a focus on possible deficiencies that lead to or maintain the disorders. The present paper aims to: (1) briefly introduce emotion regulation strategies of suppression and reappraisal; (2) summarize the empirical studies of emotion regulation within anxiety disorders; (3) discuss the neurobiological markers of emotion regulation within these disorders; (4) provide future directions for research; and (5) summarize possible treatment implications resulting from this important area of research.
This study examined whether youngsters with separation anxiety disorder (SAD) and panic disorder (PD) had experienced more separation-related events than youngsters with SAD (without comorbid PD). We also examined whether age of onset of SAD and comorbidity with other psychological disorders was related to the occurrence of PD. We compared youngsters who were diagnosed with SAD and PD (N=31) with youngsters who were diagnosed with SAD without comorbid PD (N=63) for the number of separation-related events, severity of psychopathology, and parent and child CBCL ratings, age of onset of SAD, and the number of comorbid diagnoses. The findings indicate that youngsters with SAD and PD had a later age of onset of SAD and more extensive psychopathology and functional impairment than youngsters with SAD (without comorbid PD). Contrary to hypothesis, there were no differences between the groups in the occurrence or number of separation-related events.
People with either posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or alcohol dependence (AD) are apt to report problems in their social networks, including low perceived support and elevated conflict. However, little research has examined social networks among people with comorbid PTSD/AD despite evidence suggesting these two conditions commonly co-occur and are linked to particularly severe problems. To test the hypothesis that people with comorbid PTSD/AD experience particularly elevated social network problems, individuals with lifetime diagnoses of PTSD, AD, comorbid PTSD/AD, or no lifetime history of Axis I psychopathology in the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication were compared on four dimensions of social networks: (1) Closeness, (2) Conflict, (3) Family Support, and (4) Apprehension. Persons with PTSD, AD, or comorbid PTSD/AD endorsed more problems with the Conflict, Family Support, and Apprehension factors compared to people with no history of Axis I psychopathology. Moreover, individuals with comorbid PTSD/AD endorsed greater Apprehension and significantly less Family Support compared to the other three groups. Results suggest people with comorbid PTSD/AD experience increased problems with their family as well as greater concerns about enlisting social support than even people with PTSD or AD alone. Treatments for people suffering from comorbid PTSD/AD should consider assessing for and possibly targeting family support and apprehension about being close to others.
The study investigated changes in intrusive memories associated with imaginal reliving of traumatic events in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study population comprised 44 patients treated with imaginal reliving in the context of cognitive therapy for PTSD [Behav. Res. Ther. 38 (2000) 319-345]. For most patients, imaginal reliving did not lead to exacerbations in intrusion frequency. The decrease in intrusion frequency after reliving was gradual, as was the decrease in their distress, vividness, and perceived "nowness." Poorer outcome, i.e., a smaller reduction in residual gain scores for intrusion frequency with reliving, was associated with greater initial PTSD severity, greater anger, greater perceived "nowness" of intrusive memories, and more negative interpretations of PTSD symptoms. The patient's anxiety, depression, self-blame, and dissociation were not predictive of response to reliving.
The current study assessed the incremental prediction of anxiety sensitivity (AS) in both taxonic (categorical) and dimensional representations at various time points before and after a single vital capacity inhalation of a 35% CO(2), 65% balanced O(2) gas mixture. Participants were 128 young adults screened for a history of panic attacks. By controlling for traitwise factors including state anxiety and testing both categorical and continuous conceptualizations of the AS construct at various timepoints, the present report was able to evaluate the temporal and structural dynamics of AS in relation to fearful responding to the challenge. Relevant variables were evaluated in a hierarchical linear regression framework, and it was found that a continuous conceptualization of AS provided incremental predictive validity above and beyond trait anxiety immediately post-challenge, while a categorical representation of AS was equivalent to a continuous model of AS at post-challenge but outperformed a continuous model at follow-up. These data provide basic but important evidence suggesting that AS is uniquely associated with anxious responding to a 35% CO(2) challenge, and that categorical representations of AS should be considered in biological challenge studies.
Cognitive models state that cognitions are organized hierarchically, so that the underlying schemas affect behavior via more automatic, superficial cognitive processes. This study aimed to demonstrate that early maladaptive schemas predict anxious automatic thoughts, and to show that such automatic thoughts act as mediators between schemas and prospective changes in social anxiety symptoms. The study also examined an alternative reverse model in which schemas acted as mediators between automatic thoughts and social anxiety. A total of 1052 adolescents (499 girls and 553 boys; Mage=13.43; SDage=1.29) completed measures of early maladaptive schemas, socially anxious automatic thoughts, and social anxiety symptoms at Times 1, 2, and 3. The results revealed bidirectional longitudinal relationships among schemas and automatic thoughts that were consistent in content (e.g., the disconnection/rejection schemas and automatic thoughts of negative self-concept). Furthermore, the automatic thoughts of anticipatory negative evaluation by others at Time 2 mediated the relationship between the other-directedness schemas at Time 1 and social anxiety symptoms at Time 3. These findings are consistent with hierarchical cognitive models of social anxiety given that deeper schemas predict more surface-level thoughts. They also support that these more surface-level thoughts contribute to perpetuating schemas. Finally, results show that early maladaptive schemas of the other-directedness domain play a relevant role in the development and maintenance of social anxiety.
The Obsessive Beliefs Questionnaire-44 (OBQ-44) was developed by the Obsessive Compulsive Cognitions Working Group to measure beliefs considered important in the development and maintenance of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In this study an exploratory factor analysis of the questionnaire was conducted with a student population (n=238). Results indicated four factors: (1) perfectionism and intolerance of uncertainty, (2) importance and control of thoughts, (3) responsibility, and (4) overestimation of threat. All four factors were positively associated with obsessive-compulsive symptoms and worry. A series of regression analyses was run to test the relative contributions of cognitive and metacognitive factors. In doing so, we controlled for worry and general threat. The metacognitive dimension of importance and control of thoughts emerged as a consistent unique predictor of overall obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Exploratory analyses of predictors of obsessive-compulsive symptom subtypes showed that metacognition and perfectionism contributed to different symptom domains. The data suggests that particular beliefs may be important in OCD.
The present study was designed to assess the psychometric properties of the Brazilian version of the Obsessive Beliefs Questionnaire (OBQ-44) in 104 patients with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) at the Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre. The secondary objective was to ascertain whether a decline in OBQ-44 scores occurs after cognitive-behavioral group therapy (CBGT). Factor analysis identified three dysfunctional belief domains from the original scale. Internal consistency and reproducibility were very good and good, respectively. Sensitivity to treatment change (cognitive-behavioral group therapy) was good, and pre-post intervention standardized effect sizes (Cohen's d) were strong. The OBQ-44 plays an important role in this setting; as a user-friendly, self-administered instrument that lists the most common dysfunctional beliefs of OCD patients, it enables healthcare providers to assess whether their patients' beliefs change after treatment.
A previous report suggested that successful cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for child anxiety reduced substance use problems at 7.4-year follow-up, but that report did not include predictors of: (a) substance use disorder (SUD; e.g., attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder symptoms, negative life events, family substance abuse, additional treatment), or (b) treatment outcome (e.g., severity of internalizing pathology, age). Analyses incorporating these factors tested previously reported findings in 72 participants (ages 15-22 at follow-up; 84% of the 7.4-year follow-up sample), using parent and youth diagnostic interviews and report measures. The majority of previously reported associations between less successful treatment and later substance use problems remained significant after controlling for known predictors of SUD and treatment outcome. Our findings bolster previous conclusions that effective CBT for child anxiety may have ameliorative effects on the target disorder and later substance use problems.
This population-based study reports on the prevalence and characteristics of specific phobia (SP) and phobic fears in an elderly population. A representative population sample of Swedish 70-year-olds without dementia (N = 558) was examined using semi-structured interviews. Phobic fears included fear of animals, natural environment, specific situations, blood-injection-injury and 'other'. Mental disorders, including SP, were diagnosed according to DSM-IV. Phobic fears (71.0% vs. 37.9%) and SP (13.8% vs. 4.5%) were more common in women than in men. Among those with phobic fears, more than 80% reported onset before age 21. Of those with SP, 35.7% had another DSM-IV diagnosis compared to 8.5% of those reporting no fear. Fear of specific situations and 'other' fears were related to SP and other anxiety disorders. SP was related to lower global functioning. We conclude that specific phobia in the elderly should receive attention from health professionals as it is common and associated with a decrease in global functioning.
Cognitive models emphasize the importance of dysfunctional beliefs as overimportance/need to control thoughts, perfectionism, intolerance of uncertainty, responsibility, and overestimation of threat in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Twin studies suggest that these beliefs are significantly heritable, but candidate genes associated with them have not been analyzed. We genotyped the Val158Met in the COMT gene and Val66Met variant in the BDNF gene in 141 OCD patients and analyzed their single and interactive effects on the obsessive beliefs questionnaire (OBQ-44). Variability in dysfunctional beliefs was not affected by the COMT or BDNF genotype in isolation, but we detected a significant COMT×BDNF interaction effect on responsibility/overestimation of threat and overimportance/need to control thoughts scores. Subjects with the BDNF Met-present and the COMT Met-present genotype showed higher scores on responsibility/overestimation of threat. An interaction between dopaminergic and neurotrophic functional gene variants may influence dysfunctional beliefs hypothesized to contribute to the development of OCD.
This study addresses the ongoing controversy regarding the definition of DSM-IV posttraumatic stress disorder's (PTSD) traumatic stressor criterion (A1). A sample of 119 college students completed the PTSD Symptom Scale separately in relation to both Criterion A1 and non-Criterion A1 stressful events, using a mixed between-groups (administration order) and within-subjects (stressor type) design. Contrary to what was expected, analyses revealed that non-Criterion A1 events were associated with greater likelihood of "probable" PTSD diagnoses and a greater PTSD symptom frequency than Criterion A1 events. Symptom frequency relationships, however, were moderated by the order in which the measures were administered. The non-Criterion A1 PTSD scores were only higher when non-Criterion A1 measures were presented first in the administration order. Similar patterns of differences in PTSD scores between stressor types were also found across the three PTSD symptom criteria. Implications are discussed as to the ongoing controversy of the PTSD construct.
The current study attempted to replicate the unexpected findings by Gold, Marx, Soler-Baillo, and Sloan [Gold, S. D., Marx, B. P., Soler-Baillo, J. M., & Sloan, D. M. (2005). Is life stress more traumatic than traumatic stress? Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 19, 687-698] that non-traumatic events were associated with greater levels of PTSD symptoms than traumatic events. The current study had two notable methodological differences. First, we included A2 trauma criteria (a response of intense fear, helplessness, or horror) in addition to A1 trauma criteria (the event is life-threatening) in defining traumatic events. Second, A1 and A2 trauma criteria were based on participants' ratings, as opposed to classification by coders. Using this alternative methodology, results obtained were opposite of Gold et al. PTSD symptoms were greater for DSM-defined traumatic events in comparison to non-traumatic events. In addition, A1 trauma criterion had little to no relationship to PTSD symptoms when A2 criterion was considered. These results call into question the role of A1 trauma criterion and the definition of traumatic events.
Posttraumatic stress disorder's (PTSD) tripartite factor structure proposed by the DSM-IV is rarely empirically supported. Other four-factor models (King et al., 1998; Simms et al., 2002) have proven to better account for PTSD's latent structure; however, results regarding model superiority are conflicting. The current study assessed whether endorsement of PTSD's Criterion A2 would impact on the factorial invariance of the King et al. (1998) model. Participants were 1572 war-exposed Bosnian secondary students who were assessed two years following the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict. The sample was grouped by those endorsing both parts of the DSM-IV Criterion A (A2 Group) and those endorsing only A1 (Non-A2 Group). The factorial invariance of the King et al. (1998) model was not supported between the A2 vs. Non-A2 Groups; rather, the groups significantly differed on all model parameters. The impact of removing A2 on the factor structure of King et al. (1998) PTSD model is discussed in light of the proposed removal of Criterion A2 for the DSM-V.
Among older adults, recent work indicated that Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ) data fit poorly with previously established models, leading to use of model modification procedures to create an abbreviated worry questionnaire (PSWQ-A; Hopko, D. R., Stanley, M. A., Reas, D. L., Wetherell, J. L., Beck, J. G., Novy, D. M., et al. (2003). Assessing worry in older adults: Confirmatory factor analyses of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire and psychometric properties of an abbreviated model. Psychological Assessment, 15, 173-183). Given limitations of this prior study that included the post hoc statistical development of the scale and undefined relevance toward assessing worry in younger cohorts, psychometric properties of the PSWQ-A were explored among independent samples of older (n = 115) and younger adults (n = 183). Exploratory factor analyses supported a unidimensional model (breadth and control of worry) that accounted for substantial variance in older (57%) and younger adult samples (70%) and was associated with high factor loadings (.66-.89). Internal consistency (alpha = .89-.94) and test-retest reliability (r = .87-.95) was strong in both samples. Moderate to strong convergent validity with measures of worry and anxiety was evident (r = .46-.83), as was support for the construct validity of the PSWQ-A via its relation to the PSWQ (r = .65-.83) and similar relations with other anxiety and worry measures. Although further study is required, the PSWQ-A may be a parsimonious method to assess worry in older and younger adults.
Substantial overlap exists between the mood and anxiety disorders. Previous research has suggested that their comorbidity can be explained by a shared factor (negative emotionality), but that they may also be distinguished by other unique components. The current study explicated these relations using an abnormal personality framework. Current diagnoses of major depression and several anxiety disorders were assessed in 563 Gulf War veterans. Participants also completed the schedule for nonadaptive and adaptive personality (SNAP) to determine how these disorders relate to abnormal personality traits. Analyses of individual diagnoses indicated that depression, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were more strongly related to personality than were other anxiety disorders. The Self-Harm Scale distinguished major depression from all other disorders, highlighting its significance for future structural models. Our results add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that GAD and PTSD have more in common with major depression than with their anxiety disorder counterparts.
This study investigated the relative contribution of general (trait) anxiety and state anxiety to threat perception abnormalities in nonreferred children aged 8-13 years (N=299). Children were first asked to complete self-report measures of anxiety disorders symptoms and chronic anxiety. Next, they were individually interviewed using an ambiguous story paradigm from which a number of threat perception indexes were derived. Just before the interview started, children were asked to fill out a measure of state anxiety. Results showed that high levels of general anxiety (as indexed by anxiety disorders symptoms and chronic anxiety) were significantly related to increased threat perception and lower threat thresholds. High levels of state anxiety were also associated with increased threat perception and lower threat thresholds. Regression analyses indicated that general anxiety and state anxiety both accounted for a unique proportion of the variance in threat perception abnormalities, although the contribution of general anxiety was in most cases substantially larger than that of state anxiety. Finally, no support was found for the notion that threat perception abnormalities are the result of the conjoint influence of general anxiety and state anxiety.
Alcohol, administered acutely, is known to cause CO(2) hyposensitivity. CO(2) hypersensitivity associated with anxiogenic hyperventilation (HV) could reasonably be expected to emerge as an opponent process upon withdrawal from chronic alcohol use. To test this hypothesis, we applied two well-known methods to quantify CO(2) sensitivity in recently detoxified alcohol-dependent individuals and never alcohol-disordered individuals who are social drinkers. We found that the alcoholic group exhibited significantly greater CO(2) sensitivity than did controls in response to both challenges. Indirect evidence of chronic HV was also obtained. These findings implicate the effect of chronic alcohol use on CNS-based CO(2) sensitivity in heightening the vulnerability to disturbing anxiety symptoms and syndromes exhibited by alcoholic individuals. Future work must verify that pathological drinking actually causes the dysregulated respiratory responding observed in this study as is inferred in our conclusions.
The extent to which anxious people benefit from exposure-based treatments seems to depend on the degree to which they activate their fear network during exposure. This study was designed to investigate whether the cognitive processing of threat in anxious individuals is dominated by abstract anticipatory memory, and whether this abstract memory mode is related to the incomplete activation of the fear network. Activation of the fear network was assessed during phobic exposure, as evidenced by the initial autonomic reaction. Spider phobics and controls were presented with a threatening imagery script. Half of them were exposed to a real-life spider. Spider phobics memorized relatively more abstract anticipatory descriptions than concrete sensory descriptions when compared with the control subjects. Only in phobic subjects. higher recognition of abstract anticipatory descriptions was inversely related to heart rate reactivity during exposure. A preferential memory mode for abstract information was related to an attenuated heart rate reactivity to threat in spider phobics. It is suggested that the preferential memory mode for abstract information may inhibit the activation of the subcortical affective memory system, which is crucial for the complete activation of the fear network. The absence of complete fear network activation may play a role in the persistence of anxiety disorders by hindering anxious individuals to learn that the stimuli they fear are not as dangerous as they assumed.
The modified Stroop effect (MSE), in which participants show delayed colour naming to trauma-specific words, is one of the most widely cited findings in the literature pertaining to cognitive bias in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The current study used a novel approach (Dissertation Abstract Review; DAR) to review the presence of the MSE in dissertation abstracts. A review of dissertations that used the modified Stroop task in a PTSD sample revealed that only 8% of the studies found delayed reaction times to trauma-specific words in participants with PTSD. The most common finding (75%) was for no PTSD-specific effects in colour naming trauma-relevant words. This ratio is significantly lower than ratios found in the peer reviewed literature, but even in the peer reviewed literature only 44% of controlled studies found the modified Stroop effect. These data suggest that a reevaluation of the MSE in PTSD is warranted.
The present investigation evaluated the associations between lifetime psychedelic use, abuse, and dependence and panic attacks. The study consisted of a representative epidemiological sample from a state wide survey of the Colorado general adult population (n=4745; 52% female). Consistent with prediction, after controlling for theoretically relevant variables, psychedelic abuse and dependence, but not use, were significantly related to an increased lifetime risk of panic attacks. The results are discussed in terms of better understanding the role of psychedelic use in relation to the occurrence of panic attacks.