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In a preliminary investigation of the link between self-esteem and obsessional problems, patients with OCD were compared with people suffering from other anxiety disorders and non-anxious controls. A questionnaire was devised which allowed the reliable coding of open ended responses focussed on issues surrounding self-worth; standardized measures of self-esteem and clinical symptomatology were also administered. Results indicated that both clinical groups differed significantly from non-clinical controls on generalized self-esteem assessments. There was some evidence of OCD specific effects; obsessionals were more likely than anxious controls to link their self-worth to other people and their relationships. They also regarded the possibility of causing harm as likely to result in other people making extreme negative and critical judgements of them; the other groups expected the responses of others towards them to be more lenient. The implications for future research and for treatment of OCD are discussed. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original publication




Journal article


Behaviour Research and Therapy

Publication Date





771 - 781