Psychophysiological process and outcome phenomena were analyzed to examine differential temporal patterns within and across cognitive, behavioral and physiologically-based treatments of agoraphobia. Eighty-eight severe and chronic agoraphobics with panic attacks (DSM-III) were randomly assigned to one of three treatments: Paradoxical Intention, Graduated Exposure or Progressive Deep Muscle Relaxation Training. Protocol therapists, whose treatment integrity was objectively monitored, conducted 12 two-hour weekly sessions. All subjects received programmed practice instructions concurrent with their primary treatment. Analyses revealed numerous significant reductions on in vivo psychophysiological measures for the relaxation condition, a few improvements for the exposure treatment and no effects for the paradoxical intention modality. The mediating role of pretreatment physiological reactivity in treatment outcome and follow-up status was examined and revealed no significant associations. Synchrony-desynchrony patterns were found to vary widely according to both treatment phase and the time interval between assessments. No between-group differences were observed on the proportion of synchronizers. However, synchronizers exhibited superior outcome and follow-up compared to desynchronizers on all domains except the physiological measures. Conceptual, methodological and clinical implications of these findings are discussed with recommendations for future research.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health