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The cognitive-behavioural theory of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) proposes that a key factor influencing obsessional behaviour is the way in which the intrusive cognitions are interpreted. The present paper reports an investigation of links between clinical symptoms (of anxiety, depression and obsessionality) and responsibility beliefs. These beliefs include not only measures of general responsibility attitudes (assumptions) but also more specific responsibility appraisals consequent on intrusive cognitions. The characteristics of two new questionnaires specifically designed to measure these beliefs were assessed in patients suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, in patients suffering from other anxiety disorders and in non-clinical controls. The scales measuring negative beliefs about responsibility were found to have good reliability and internal consistency. Comparisons between criterion groups indicate considerable specificity for both assumptions and appraisals with respect to OCD. There was also good evidence of specificity in the association between responsibility cognitions and obsessional symptoms across groups, and that this association was not a consequence of links with anxiety or depressive symptoms. Although the two measures were correlated, they each made unique contributions to the prediction of obsessional symptoms. Overall, the results are consistent with the hypothesis that responsibility beliefs are important in the experience of obsessional problems.


Journal article


Behav Res Ther

Publication Date





347 - 372


Adult, Anxiety Disorders, Attitude, Case-Control Studies, Diagnosis, Differential, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Negativism, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Predictive Value of Tests, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Reproducibility of Results, Self-Assessment, Sensitivity and Specificity, Thinking