Symptom dimensions in obsessive-compulsive disorder: differences in distress, interference, appraisals and neutralizing strategies.

Research paper by Gemma G García-Soriano, Amparo A Belloch

Indexed on: 25 Jun '13Published on: 25 Jun '13Published in: Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry


Cognitive proposals about the mediating role of misinterpretations, emotional reactions, and control strategies in the escalation of obsessional intrusive thoughts (OIT) to clinical obsessions have received only partial support. This study aims to examine these variables, taking into account the obsession/OIT contents and the severity of the obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).After identifying their most upsetting OIT/obsession, 61 OCD patients and 61 non-clinical individuals assessed the associated distress, interference and appraisals, and the strategies used to control the obsession/OIT.Compared with the nonclinical subjects, OCD individuals scored higher on all variables. The obsession's severity was associated with high disturbance, interference and dysfunctional appraisals, whereas the compulsion's severity was related to specific control strategies. Different obsessional contents produced similar emotional disturbance and interference. However, obsessional contents influence the amount of adscription to different dysfunctional appraisals and the frequency of use of several control strategies.Our conclusions are limited by the scarce number of patients representing the various obsessive contents, specially order.Overall, superstitious obsessions were more dysfunctionally appraised than the other obsessional contents, inducing both covert and overt neutralizing strategies, whereas contamination obsessions were less dysfunctionally appraised.