International Journal of Cognitive Therapy

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 434–443 | Cite as

Illness Perceptions Across Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Panic Disorder Patients

  • Rafaela V. Dias
  • Ulrich Stangier
  • Luana D. Laurito
  • Paula Vigne
  • Carla C. Loureiro
  • Samara Dos-Santos-Ribeiro
  • Maria E. Moreira-de-Oliveira
  • Gabriela B. de Menezes
  • Leonardo F. Fontenelle


We investigated whether panic disorder (PD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and social anxiety disorder (SAD) patients differ in the perception of their illnesses and whether these differences can be ascribed to levels of anxiety sensitivity. We performed a cross-sectional study comparing responses from 36 PD patients, 38 OCD, and 34 SAD patients in the Illness Perception Questionnaire-Mental Health (IPQ-MH). A MANCOVA model with the diagnostic group as the fixed factor, the IPQ-MH items as dependent variables, and the Anxiety Sensitivity Index-Revised (ASI-R) score as a covariate, was created. Significant differences were observed between the groups with respect to illness perception. PD patients showed significantly higher levels of anxiety sensitivity than other groups. However, after controlling for anxiety sensitivity as a covariate, patients with PD had significant lower scores in “personal control” and “treatment control” than patients with SAD. OCD patients did not differ significantly from both groups. PD, OCD, and SAD patients have both common and different perceptions regarding their illnesses. Differences between PD and SAD are related to controllability of symptoms, but seem not to be mediated by anxiety sensitivity. Future studies should investigate whether illness perceptions in OCD and anxiety disorders have therapeutic implications.


Anxiety disorders Obsessive-compulsive disorder Social anxiety disorder Panic disorder Illness perception Observational descriptive study 



We are indebted to our volunteers for participation in this study.

Funding Details

This work was supported by the “Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ) under Grants E-26/201.305/2014 & E-26/010.001411/2015; and “Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico” (CNPq)] under grant 308237/2014-5.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© International Association of Cognitive Psychotherapy 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rafaela V. Dias
    • 1
  • Ulrich Stangier
    • 2
  • Luana D. Laurito
    • 1
  • Paula Vigne
    • 1
  • Carla C. Loureiro
    • 1
  • Samara Dos-Santos-Ribeiro
    • 1
  • Maria E. Moreira-de-Oliveira
    • 1
    • 3
  • Gabriela B. de Menezes
    • 1
  • Leonardo F. Fontenelle
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of of Psychiatry of the Federal University of Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of FrankfurtFrankfurtGermany
  3. 3.D’Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR)Rio de JaneiroBrazil
  4. 4.Brain & Mental Health Laboratory, Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical NeurosciencesMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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