Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

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 publication




Journal article


J Anxiety Disord

Publication Date





153 - 159


Anxiety Disorders, Culture, Humans, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Prevalence, Severity of Illness Index, Social Behavior, Social Responsibility, Surveys and Questionnaires