The Termination of Checking and the Role of Just Right Feelings: A Study of Obsessional Checkers Compared with Anxious and Non-clinical Controls.
Salkovskis PM., Millar J., Gregory JD., Wahl K.
BACKGROUND: Repeated checking in OCD can be understood from a cognitive perspective as the motivated need to achieve certainty about the outcome of a potentially risky action, leading to the application of Elevated Evidence Requirements (EER) and overuse of subjective criteria. METHOD: Twenty-four obsessional checkers, 22 anxious controls, and 26 non-clinical controls were interviewed about and rated recent episodes where they felt (a) they needed to check and (b) checked mainly out of habit (i.e. not obsessionally). RESULTS: Both subjective and objective criteria were rated as significantly more important in obsessional checkers than in controls; obsessional checkers also used more criteria overall for the termination of the check, and rated more criteria as "extremely important" than the control groups. The termination of the check was rated as more effortful for obsessional checkers than for the comparison groups. Analysis of the interview data was consistent with the ratings. Feelings of "rightness" were associated with the termination of a check for obsessional checkers but not for controls. CONCLUSION: Results were consistent with the proposal that the use of "just right feelings" to terminate checking are related to EER.