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01-02-2009 | Original Article | Uitgave 1/2009

Cognitive Therapy and Research 1/2009

Strategies to Control Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts: Which are Relevant and Specific in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 1/2009
Amparo Belloch, Carmen Morillo, Gemma Garcia-Soriano


Current cognitive-behavioral approaches to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) propose that chronic thought suppression and other dysfunctional strategies to control negative unwanted intrusions play an important role in the genesis and/or maintenance of the disorder. However, little empirical research has been devoted to investigating which control and/or suppression methods are used most often by OCD patients, and which could be considered specific to OCD. The purpose of the present study was to provide evidence with regard to these issues. With this end, 39 clinical OCD patients, 23 depressed patients, 25 non-obsessive anxious patients, and 30 community adults completed two measures of thought control/suppression strategies: the reduced Spanish version of the Thought Control Questionnaire (TCQ-r) and the White Bear Suppression Inventory (WBSI). Participants also completed measures of OCD, depressive and anxious symptoms. The results indicated that, in OCD patients, the chronic tendency to suppress negative unwanted thoughts (WBSI) was associated with Punishment (TCQ) and, to a lesser extent, with Worry and Reappraisal. When examining between-group differences, punishment for having negative intrusions proved to be OCD-relevant and OCD-specific, since OCDs were distinguishable from the other three groups on this measure. However, Distraction, Social control, Reappraisal, and Worry strategies were shown to be control strategies that were not specifically used by OCD participants or by those with anxiety and depressive disorders.

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