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There is tremendous interest in understanding the role of cognitive processes within generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Regarding one process, intolerance of uncertainty (IU), extant data provide equivocal conclusions as to whether it shares a specific relation with either disorder. This study tested the specificity of IU and other cognitive processes, including negative problem orientation, responsibility and threat estimation, perfectionism and certainty, and importance and control of thoughts, in relation to symptoms of GAD and OCD in a large nonclinical sample. All cognitive processes except importance and control of thoughts (ICT) shared comparable relations with symptoms of both disorders and IU was the only cognitive process to predict unique variance—that above and beyond the other cognitive processes—in both GAD and OCD symptoms. We discuss the implications of these findings for conceptualizing points of convergence and divergence between the symptoms of two disorders that historically have shown meaningful overlap.
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- Do Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Share Cognitive Processes?
Thomas A. Fergus
Kevin D. Wu
- Springer US