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

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-443
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Cognitive Therapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


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

Cite this

Dias, R. V., Stangier, U., Laurito, L. D., Vigne, P., Loureiro, C. C., Dos-Santos-Ribeiro, S., Moreira-de-Oliveira, M. E., de Menezes, G. B., & Fontenelle, L. F. (2018). Illness Perceptions Across Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Panic Disorder Patients. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, 11(4), 434-443.