Cognitive models of panic disorder have emphasized the role of cognitive distortions in the maintenance of this disorder. Several studies have produced results consistent with this hypothesis, but it is still unclear whether cognitive biases precede anxiety disorders or whether they are a consequence of the disorder. In the present study, we compared children of individuals with panic disorder, children of individuals with animal phobia, and children of normal controls with respect to attentional bias with an emotional Stroop task, which included three types of words: panic-relevant, animal phobia-relevant, and neutral words. Our results revealed that children of panic patients did not show an attentional bias for panic-relevant stimuli. Results will be discussed in the context of theoretical models explaining the etiological factor of cognitive biases for the development of anxiety disorders.

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