Background: Improvements in quality of life (QoL) as well as symptomatic relief are important outcomes for the treatment of panic disorder (PD). The aim of this study is to assess the impact of brief cognitive behavior group therapy (CBGT) for panic disorder on QoL and to identify the clinical features associated with these changes. Methods: Thirty-six patients with PD refractory to pharmacological treatment took part in a treatment protocol consisting of 12 sessions of CBGT. To evaluate the changes in QoL, the WHOQOL-bref was administered before and after treatment. Results: Thirty-two patients completed the treatment. Significant improvement in all domains of QoL was observed (p< 0.001), which was associated with reductions in general and anticipatory anxiety (p = 0.018) and agoraphobic avoidance (p = 0.046). Consistent with previous findings, associations between QoL and panic-free status did not reach significance in this small study (p = 0.094). Conclusions: CBGT was efficacious in the treatment of PD; the symptoms of anticipatory anxiety and avoidance appear to be more important than episodic panic episodes in affecting QoL.

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