Do Patients with Panic Disorder Show a Memory Bias?

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Abstract

Background:

Cognitive models of panic disorder are becoming more and more influential. Therefore, research specifying cognitive processes related to panic disorder is needed. The present study investigated memory bias for panic-related material in patients with panic disorder.

Methods:

Memory bias for panic-related material was investigated experimentally by a memory task requiring classification of panic-related and non-panic-related words. Sixty patients with panic disorder and 60 controls with no diagnosis of a mental disorder participated in the study.

Results:

As expected, panic patients showed smaller differences in the time needed for classification of panic-related versus non-panic-related material than controls.

Conclusions:

Patients with panic disorder show a memory bias for panic-related material when conceptual implicit recall is required. In order to clarify whether this bias is involved in the maintenance of the disorder, it seems important to investigate whether the bias is still present after successful therapy.

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