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11-11-2015 | Brief Report | Uitgave 2/2016

Cognitive Therapy and Research 2/2016

Shared Cognitive Features of Posttraumatic Cognitions and Obsessive–Compulsive Symptoms

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 2/2016
Dean McKay, Rachel Ojserkis, Jon D. Elhai
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Portions of these data were presented at the annual meeting of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, April 10–12, 2015, Miami, FL.


Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) frequently co-occur. However, the shared features of these conditions have been under-examined. Evaluation of the common aspects of posttraumatic and obsessive–compulsive (OC) symptoms could improve treatment responsivity for individuals with comorbid PTSD and OCD, for whom outcome is typically poorer than for those with either disorder alone. This study examined intolerance of uncertainty, inflated responsibility, and a global measure of posttraumatic cognitions as potential shared cognitive constructs that moderate distress associated with OC symptoms. A total of 211 undergraduate students reporting significant trauma histories participated. All participants completed measures of obsessive–compulsive symptoms and beliefs, as well as posttraumatic cognitions. Results indicated that posttraumatic cognitions moderated the relationship between inflated responsibility and intolerance of uncertainty, which in turn predicted all domains of obsessive–compulsive symptom distress (all βs > 0.41, all zs > 3.44). Further, posttraumatic cognitions alone significantly predicting OC symptoms related to doubting, obsessions, and neutralizing. These findings suggest that shared cognitive constructs play a role in co-occurring posttraumatic stress and OC symptoms, and thus may be a relevant treatment target when these disorders present simultaneously.

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