Cognitive Specificity in Panic and Depression: Implications for Comorbidity
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Previous studies of cognitive specificity indepression and anxiety disorders have establishedreliable profiles of depressive cognitions, and to asomewhat lesser extent, panic-related cognitions. The present study examines cognitive specificity inpure diagnostic groups of patients with panic disorderor major depression and compares cognitive profiles inthese single diagnosis groups to those observed in a group of individuals with comorbid panicand depression. In addition to Beck's CognitionChecklist, we introduce a cognition inventory thatincludes subscales for panic and depression along withsomatic preoccupation, social fears, and worry. Goodspecificity was found for panic and depressioncognitions in the pure diagnostic groups, and thecomorbid group was equivalent to the pure groups onthese measures. However, the comorbid group was alsosignificantly more troubled by less prototypicalcognitions concerning social-evaluative fears andsomatic preoccupation. These results suggest thatindividuals with comorbid depression and panic may holdadditional maladaptive beliefs beyond specificcognitions typically associated with each disorderalone.
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