Panic-Relevant Predictability Preferences: A Laboratory Test

Andrew R. Yartz, Michael J. Zvolensky, Amit Bernstein, Marcel O. Bonn-Miller, C. W. Lejuez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the present investigation the authors evaluated the role of verbally instructed safety periods as they relate to predictability preference within a single-session challenge paradigm involving recurrent administrations of 20% carbon dioxide (CO2) enriched air. Participants included 160 nonclinical young adults (91 women, 69 men) between the ages of 18 and 59 (M = 21.6 years; SD = 7.23). Results indicated that equivalent levels of anxiety were experienced during predictable and unpredictable administrations of 20% CO2, yet participants preferred predictable compared with unpredictable trials, with women showing a stronger predictability preference than men. Lower anxiety was reported during known safety periods (predictable room air trials) but not during predictable compared with unpredictable administrations of 20% CO2. Findings are discussed in relation to theoretical and applied implications for the role of predictability in the nature of anxiety and its disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-246
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • anxiety
  • biological challenge
  • panic attacks
  • panic disorder
  • predictability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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