From intrusive thoughts to obsessions: The role of perceptions of responsibility, salience, and thought suppression

ArticleinJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry 39(4):610-624 · December 2008with17 Reads
DOI: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2008.02.002
Salkovskis [1985. Obsessional-compulsive problems: A cognitive-behavioural analysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 23, 571–583.] hypothesized that intrusive thoughts are more likely to occur if the thought is salient for the individual, triggers feelings of responsibility and if the individual attempts to suppress the thought. The relationship between these three factors (responsibility, salience, thought suppression) and frequency of intrusive thoughts as well as anxiety were examined in the present study. One hundred female college students were led to believe that a snake had escaped from the cage in which it was housed. Half of the participants were led to believe that they were responsible for the snake's escape and half were not (Responsibility/No Responsibility). Half of the participants in each Responsibility condition were instructed to suppress thoughts of snakes during a stream of consciousness exercise and half were not (Thought Suppression vs. No Thought Suppression). All participants then completed a second stream of consciousness without suppression instructions. Salience groups were determined by a median split on a measure of snake fearfulness. Participants for whom the snake was a salient stimulus and who believed that they were responsible for the snake's escape had the highest frequency of snake thoughts during the second stream of consciousness task and also experienced the highest levels of state anxiety. Findings are discussed with respect to Salkovskis' model.
April 2007 · Behaviour Research and Therapy · Impact Factor: 3.85
    To test the causal status of responsibility in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), an experiment was executed in which responsibility was experimentally manipulated. OCD patients, non-OCD anxiety controls, and non-patients executed a classification task in either a high or a low responsibility (LoRes) condition. Subjective ratings related to danger and responsibility indicated that the... [Show full abstract]
    February 2007 · Journal of Anxiety Disorders · Impact Factor: 2.96
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        Cognitive therapy (CT) for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has shown to be effective in diminishing OCD symptoms, but there is little known about the individual contributions of the specific treatment targets to CTtreatment outcome. Two of the treatment targets of CTare overestimations of danger and inflated beliefs of personal responsibility. No studies to date have investigated the... [Show full abstract]
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