"Now I know it could happen, I have to prevent it": A clinical study of the specificity of intrusive thoughts and the decision to prevent harm

Abigail L Wroe, Paul M Salkovskis, H Richards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


Investigated the frequency with which individuals experience intrusions about possible harm and the frequency with which they then act to prevent that possible harm using a semi-structured interview with 34 Ss with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD; mean age 29 yrs) and 34 nonclinical controls (mean age 31 yrs). The findings suggest that Ss with OCD do not generally experience more frequent intrusions about possible harm than do controls, but that Ss with OCD more frequently experience intrusions in specific situations: obsession-relevant situations and situations they find most problematic. There was found to be a generalized difference between Ss with OCD and controls in terms of frequency of actions taken to prevent potential harm following intrusions in situations that are obsession-relevant and obsession-irrelevant. The findings suggest that the occurrence of intrusions is just one factor influencing obsessional behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-70
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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