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Conflicting findings regarding the relations between thought-action fusion (TAF), religiosity, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) may be due to a lack of clarity regarding the intent associated with the negative thoughts under consideration. In Study 1, we examined the perceptions of the immorality of intentional and unwanted morally-relevant thoughts (Moral TAF) and their relations with OCD symptoms, religiosity, and obsessive beliefs in a non-clinical sample. In Study 2, we randomly assigned participants to complete one of two versions of a previously used sentence neutralization task that was varied in terms of intent. Perception of the immorality of intentional negative thoughts but not unwanted negative thoughts was associated with Protestant/Catholic affiliation and greater prayer frequency, and perception of the immorality of unwanted thoughts was consistently associated with obsessive beliefs. Neither form of Moral TAF was associated with OCD symptoms. Further, reaction to the modified non-intentional neutralization task was associated with OCD symptoms, thought-action fusion, and scrupulosity, while reaction to the original intentional task was only associated with Moral TAF. Overall, the findings suggest that individuals differ in their perceptions of intentional versus unintentional thoughts. Perceptions of intentional morally-relevant thoughts appear related to religiosity, while perceptions of unintentional thoughts are likely to be of greater relevance to our understanding of OCD.
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- Clarifying Relations Between Thought-Action Fusion, Religiosity, and Obsessive–Compulsive Symptoms Through Consideration of Intent
Jesse R. Cougle
Kristin E. Fitch
Kirsten A. Hawkins
- Springer US