Are responsibility beliefs inflated in non-checking OCD patients?

Jesse R Cougle, Han-Joo Lee, Paul M Salkovskis

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36 Citations (SciVal)


Cognitive models of obsessive-compulsive disorder [e.g., Salkovskis, P. M. (1999). Understanding and treating obsessive-compulsive disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 37 (Suppl. 1), S29-S52] propose a key role for inflated responsibility for harm. Studies evaluating such beliefs typically use heterogeneous samples including several OCD subtypes. A recent investigation by Foa et al. [Foa, E. B., Sacks, M. B., Tolin, D. F., Prezworski, A., & Amir, N. (2002). Inflated perception of responsibility for harm in OCD patients with and without checking compulsions: a replication and extension. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 16 (4), 443-453] found responsibility to be elevated in OC checkers, but not in non-checking OCD patients, relative to non-anxious controls. In that study, the responsibility measure included checking scenarios, thus leaving the possibility that these findings may have been due to criterion contamination. The present study investigated responsibility beliefs in OC checkers (n = 39) and non-checkers (n = 20), anxious controls (n = 22), and non-clinical controls (n = 69), using measures of responsibility which do not have item overlap with OCD symptoms. Results indicated that both OC groups showed greater responsibility beliefs relative to anxious and non-anxious controls. OC checkers endorsed greater responsibility appraisals than anxious and non-clinical control groups. In contrast, non-checking OCs reported greater responsibility appraisals than non-clinical controls, but did not differ from anxious controls and OC checkers. Results are discussed in the context of the cognitive model of OCD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-159
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • anxiety
  • responsibility beliefs
  • obsessive compulsive disorder
  • checking
  • inflated responsibility


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