Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

This study evaluates the hypothesis that safety-seeking behaviours play an important role in maintaining anxiety because they prevent patients from benefiting from disconfirmatory experience. Patients suffering from panic disorder with agoraphobia carried out a behaviour test, closely followed by an experimental session, which included a brief (15 min) period of exposure during which participants either stopped or maintained within-situation safety-seeking behaviours. When the behaviour test was repeated within two days, patients who had stopped their safety-seeking behaviours during the experimental session showed a significantly greater decrease in catastrophic beliefs and anxiety than those who had maintained safety-seeking behaviour. This difference was also reflected in questionnaires measuring clinical anxiety. These results are consistent with the cognitive hypothesis.


Journal article


Behav Res Ther

Publication Date





559 - 574


Adult, Agoraphobia, Anxiety, Attitude, Avoidance Learning, Desensitization, Psychologic, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Panic, Panic Disorder, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales