Attachment anxiety and self-ambivalence as vulnerabilities toward Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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12 Citations (Scopus)


The cognitive model of obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD) proposes that dysfunctional beliefs lead to the development and maintenance of obsessive-compulsive symptoms. However, recently there has been bourgeoning interest in the role of both early developmental experiences and a dysfunctional self-concept associated with obsessive-compulsive (OC) phenomena. The current study aims to examine the relationship between attachment insecurities and self-perceptions as vulnerabilities to OCD severity in an analogue sample. Specifically, it explores attachment theory and Guidano and Liotti's (1983) model of self-ambivalence. Results demonstrated that higher levels of attachment anxiety were significantly associated with OC severity. Moreover, this relationship was partially mediated by self-ambivalence. Results also supported the small albeit significant predictive utility of self-ambivalence with respect to OC severity after controlling for the influence of OC beliefs. The findings support the notion that insecure adult attachment, thought to manifest from early developmental experiences, an ambivalent self-concept and obsessional beliefs predispose one to OCD. They also suggest that obsessive-compulsive beliefs present within the OC phenomena may evolve as a consequence of an ambivalent self-worth. Future research possibilities and implications for treatment of OCD are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-46
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders
Early online date14 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • cognitive theory
  • Self-ambivalence
  • Attachment theory
  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy


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