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Responsibility and Reassurance Seeking: An Experimental Investigation

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Responsibility and Reassurance Seeking: An Experimental Investigation

Leonhart, Mark W. (2016) Responsibility and Reassurance Seeking: An Experimental Investigation. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Excessive-reassurance-seeking (RS), conceptualized as a form of compulsive checking in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), is distressing both for the seeker and for their loved ones. Experimentally increased responsibility leads to more checking symptoms and greater urges to seek reassurance. We hypothesized that under conditions of high responsibility (HR), participants would seek more reassurance than those in a low responsibility (LR) condition. Seventy-eight undergraduate participants were randomized to either HR or LR, completed a novel dishwashing task with a confederate, and were then given an opportunity to seek reassurance following ambiguous feedback. The number of instances of RS was reported by participants, confederates, and later coded by trained volunteers who were blind to the study’s hypotheses and listened to recordings of RS conversations. HR participants reported greater urges to seek reassurance t(76) = -2.891, p = .005, d = 1.23; sought more reassurance, both according to confederates, F(1, 76) = 10.741, p = .002, ηp2 = .124 and coders, F(1, 76) = 6.872, p = .011, ηp2 = .083; but self-reported RS did not differ between conditions, F(1, 76) = 1.480, p = .228, ηp2 = .019. Objective coding revealed that LR and HR participants did not differ on overt RS, F(1, 76) = 1.258, p = .266, ηp2 = .016; however, HR participants sought more covert reassurance, F(1, 76) = 18.079, p < .001, ηp2 = .192. Participant-reported responsibility decreased following RS, t(47) = 2.457, p = .018, d = .35, suggesting RS may function not only to reduce anxiety but also to transfer responsibility away from the seeker. Implications for cognitive models of and treatments for RS in OCD are discussed.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Refereed:No
Authors:Leonhart, Mark W.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Psychology
Date:5 October 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Radomsky, Adam S.
Funders:
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
ID Code:981929
Deposited By: MARK WILLIAM LEONHART
Deposited On:07 Nov 2016 20:11
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:54

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