Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by repeated and persistent attempts by the individual to control their thoughts and by taking action through rituals in order to prevent feared or personally distressing outcomes. While cognitive theories of OCD have generated supportive research findings and effective treatments, they have not considered broader control beliefs that may motivate aspects of OC-phenomenology. We have previously proposed that broader control beliefs, specifically desire for control and sense of control, may play a role in OC-symptoms (Moulding & Kyrios, 2006). In the present study, non-clinical participants (N=219) were presented with four hypothetical scenarios relevant to an OCD-checking concern, and using a manipulation paradigm, the relationship between control constructs and appraisals hypothesized to be relevant to OCD (threat, responsibility) was examined. Desire for control was moderately affected to responsibility and threat appraisals, while sense of control did not relate to these constructs. The relationship between aspects of OC-phenomenology and appraisals of control, responsibility and threat were also investigated. Higher desire for control predicted both affect and action, while a lower sense of control predicted higher distress and action, over-and-above appraisals of threat and responsibility. Control appraisals were particularly relevant to use of action, and to affect in the low responsibility situations. A possible interactive model of desire for control, threat and responsibility is discussed.
Moulding, R., Kyrios, M., & Doron, G. (2007). Obsessive-compulsive behaviours in specific situations: The relative influence of appraisals of control, responsibility and threat. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45(7), 1693-1702. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2006.08.020