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01-12-2013 | Original Article | Uitgave 6/2013

Cognitive Therapy and Research 6/2013

Subtle Threats to Moral Self-Perceptions Trigger Obsessive–Compulsive Related Cognitions

Tijdschrift:
Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 6/2013
Auteurs:
Amitai Abramovitch, Guy Doron, Dar Sar-El, Erin Altenburger

Abstract

Obsessive–compulsive (OC) symptoms are often associated with cognitive biases and can cause significant distress and impairment in daily functioning. In this study, we examine whether threat to moral self-perceptions can trigger cognitive biases linked with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). Participants were 124 non-clinical adults randomized to four conditions (negative-morality, negative-sports, positive-morality, and positive-sports) of the Subtle Priming Computerized Task. To examine the influence of subtle priming of morality-related information on OCD-related cognitive biases, participants completed the Obsessive Beliefs Questionnaire-20 (OBQ-20). Participants also completed the obsessive–compulsive inventory-revised, the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale and the Single-Item Self-Esteem Scale as baseline measures. Results revealed that subtle suggestions of incompetence in the morality self-domain were associated with stronger activation of OCD-related cognitive biases as measured by the OBQ-20. These effects were specific to negative information about the morality self-domain. Findings were not related to pre-existing variations in OC symptom levels, self-esteem, stress, anxiety, or depression. We suggest that self-sensitivities in the morality self-domain may be linked with the activation of cognitive biases related to OCD. Future research should explore these self-sensitivities in a clinical sample to further substantiate this phenomenon.

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