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31.08.2021 10:00

Panic disorders and agoraphobia – can an app help? Jacobs University is looking for participants in a study

Melisa Berktas Corporate Communications & Public Relations
Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

    About seven million people in Germany suffer from an anxiety disorder. Many have been suffering long before they receive adequate support. Can a smartphone app offer quick first aid for people with panic disorder and agoraphobia? That's what clinical psychologists at Jacobs University want to find out in a study. They are looking for participants.

    "People who have panic disorder and agoraphobia repeatedly experience sudden and unexpected panic attacks or anxiety attacks that are accompanied, for example, by strong heart palpitations, dizziness, sweating, and fear of death," said Thomas Lang, Professor of Psychology at Jacobs University.

    In their everyday lives, these people are often severely restricted by anxiety. To remedy the situation, the app "Mindable" was developed to help those affected to reduce their fears actively and independently. The app was created based on a scientifically validated treatment approach, however little is known about its actual effectiveness. The Department of Psychology and Methods at Jacobs University is therefore conducting a randomized controlled trial in cooperation with institutions in Bremen, Hamburg and Münster. The aim is to determine whether the smartphone app can actually improve the health of those affected.

    The study is open to people who are at least 18 years old and suffer from sudden anxiety or panic attacks with bodily symptoms, as well as being restricted by the anxiety in their everyday lives – for example, when riding the bus, visiting a department store, or even being afraid to leave their home alone. They should not currently be undergoing psychotherapy.

    Interested persons can contact the central study coordination at Jacobs University. Depending on their place of residence, they will then first be invited to an initial examination at one of the study centers in Bremen, Hamburg, or Münster. During the examination, a standardized, psychological diagnosis is made. Afterwards, random chance decides whether the app can be used immediately or after the eight-week study period. All participants are also asked to complete an online questionnaire at home. The final examination will take place again at the respective study center.

    About Jacobs University Bremen:
    Studying in an international community. Obtaining a qualification to work on responsible tasks in a digitized and globalized society. Learning, researching and teaching across academic disciplines and countries. Strengthening people and markets with innovative solutions and advanced training programs. This is what Jacobs University Bremen stands for. Established as a private, English-medium campus university in Germany in 2001, it is continuously achieving top results in national and international university rankings. Its more than 1,500 students come from more than 110 countries with around 80% having relocated to Germany for their studies. Jacobs University’s research projects are funded by the German Research Foundation or the EU Research and Innovation program as well as by globally leading companies.
    For more information:
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    Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

    Professor Thomas Lang
    Professor of Psychology
    Phone : +49 (0)421-200 4881

    Weitere Informationen:


    About seven million people in Germany suffer from an anxiety disorder.
    About seven million people in Germany suffer from an anxiety disorder.

    Shutterstock/ Chinnapong

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    About seven million people in Germany suffer from an anxiety disorder.

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