Emotion regulation (ER)has been incorporated into many models of psychopathology, but it has not been examined directly in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)for panic disorder with agoraphobia (PD/A). In this study, a preliminary model of ER in CBT for PD/A is proposed based on existing theories, and several propositions of the model are tested. We hypothesized that increases in cognitive reappraisal would precede decreases in biased cognitions, decreases in expressive suppression would follow decreases in biased cognitions, and a reduction in symptom severity would follow decreases in expressive suppression. Twenty-nine patients who received CBT for PD/A completed weekly self-report measures of symptom severity, anxiety sensitivity, reappraisal and expressive suppression. In addition, patients were compared to a matched normal sample. Cross-lagged analyses partially supported the hypotheses. Reappraisal did not change until late stages of therapy and was generally not associated with treatment outcome. Suppression decreased significantly and exhibited a reciprocal relationship with biased cognitions. Symptom reduction followed decreases in suppression as hypothesized. However, patients did not differ in ER from matched controls at either pre- or posttreatment. Results suggest the important distinction between reappraisal and appraisal, and stress the role of session-by-session decreases in suppression as a predictor of symptom reduction.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology