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Beliefs about control and obsessive compulsive disorder: A multidimensional approach


Beliefs about control and obsessive compulsive disorder: A multidimensional approach

Gelfand, Laurie (2013) Beliefs about control and obsessive compulsive disorder: A multidimensional approach. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Gelfand_PhD_S2013.pdf - Accepted Version


Perceived control (PC), or the belief that one possesses control over desired outcomes, is a well-studied concept in psychology due to its associations with indices of well-being and psychopathology. Low PC has been associated with the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders, in part because it has been proposed to affect an individual’s beliefs about his or her ability to control aspects of anxiety-related situations, including emotions, behaviours, objects and events. In the case of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), the importance of control constructs has been well and thoughtfully examined in relation to the controllability of thoughts, but there is a paucity of research examining control-related beliefs in other OCD-relevant domains. This research aimed to clarify the role of PC and its sub-components in OCD. The purpose of Study 1 was to evaluate variables mediating the relationship between PC and OCD symptoms as well as to discern which sub-components of PC predict OCD symptoms. Nonclinical and clinical participants completed a battery of questionnaires that included measures of OCD beliefs and symptoms, as well as scales assessing control-related beliefs, to determine the pathways through which PC and sub-components of control influence OCD beliefs and symptoms. The results demonstrated that the influence of PC over anxiety-related events on OCD symptoms is mediated by OCD-related beliefs including thought-action fusion, and that external locus of control orientations may explain the relationship between low PC and OCD symptoms. Results also demonstrated that low self-esteem is a robust predictor of OC symptoms. In Study 2, an experimental paradigm was used to examine the effects of manipulating specific control beliefs, control-related self-efficacy and predicted controllability, on the persistence of cleaning behaviour. Undergraduate student participants were asked to engage in a cleaning task following manipulations of control-related beliefs to determine the effects of such beliefs on cleaning behaviour. Results demonstrated that overpredictions of controllability contributed to longer cleaning times, and that low control-related self-efficacy beliefs increased participants’ desire to gain control over task outcome. Taken together, these results provide support that control-related beliefs are an important component of OCD phenomenology, and suggest that a multidimensional understanding of low PC, including elements of self- and world-controllability, should be incorporated into contemporary cognitive-behavioural models of OCD.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Gelfand, Laurie
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Date:28 January 2013
Thesis Supervisor(s):Radomsky, Adam
Keywords:Perceived control, OCD, checking, self-esteem, locus of control
ID Code:976855
Deposited On:16 Apr 2013 14:43
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:43


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