Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 569–577 | Cite as

Perceptions of control in panic disorder and social phobia

  • Marylene Cloitre
  • Richard G. Heimberg
  • Michael R. Liebowitz
  • Andrea Gitow


Levenson's (1973) locus of control scale was used to assess perceptions of control in individuals with panic disorder and social phobia, compared to a nonclinical sample. Both anxiety disorder groups showed a lower sense of internal control compared to the normal sample. Furthermore, the two anxiety disorder groups showed contrasting externality orientations. Panic-disordered individuals viewed events as proceeding in a random and uncontrollable way, while social phobics viewed events as controlled by powerful others. Partial correlations confirmed the unique relationship between each disorder and a particular externality orientation and indicated that low internal perceptions of control were strongly influenced by the presence of beliefs in chance and powerful others. These data suggest that perceptions of diminished control may be an affective—cognitive theme of anxiety, and that specific types of control perceptions are uniquely associated with these particular anxiety disorders.

Key words

locus of control panic disorder social phobia 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marylene Cloitre
    • 1
  • Richard G. Heimberg
    • 2
  • Michael R. Liebowitz
    • 3
  • Andrea Gitow
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNew School for Social ResearchNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.University at Albany, State University of New YorkUSA
  3. 3.New York State Psychiatric InstituteUSA

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