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24-12-2015 | Original Article | Uitgave 2/2016

Cognitive Therapy and Research 2/2016

Self-Punishment as a Maladaptive Thought Control Strategy Mediates the Relationship Between Beliefs About Thoughts and Repugnant Obsessions

Tijdschrift:
Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 2/2016
Auteurs:
Ryan J. Jacoby, Rachel C. Leonard, Bradley C. Riemann, Jonathan S. Abramowitz

Abstract

Cognitive-behavioral models of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) propose that erroneous beliefs about the importance and need to control thoughts lead individuals with OCD to overuse maladaptive thought control strategies such as worry and self-punishment. These strategies are thought to backfire, leading to obsessional symptoms. Whereas previous studies have examined predictors of the use of thought control strategies, none have investigated these strategies as mediators in the prediction of OCD symptom severity. An additional gap in the literature is the lack of attention to OCD symptom dimensions. The present study, therefore, extended existing work by examining thought control strategies as mediators of the relationship between obsessive beliefs and OCD symptom dimensions in a treatment-seeking sample of 102 adults with OCD. In line with our hypotheses, the use of punishment (but not worry) as a thought control tactic mediated the relationship between dysfunctional beliefs about the importance/control of thoughts and unacceptable obsessions. These findings are discussed in terms of the conceptualization and treatment of OCD. Future research should investigate the extent to which these various thought control strategies may be helpful versus harmful using idiographic measures of thought control and employing experimental designs.

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