Compulsive checking behaviors in generalized anxiety disorder



Recent evidence suggests that a relationship exists between worry, the central feature of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and compulsive behaviors, particularly compulsive checking. In this article we report the results from two studies. The first study assessed the frequency of obsessions and compulsions in 107 principally diagnosed GAD clients. The second study examined levels of alexithymia in analogue samples of GAD checkers (n = 31), GAD noncheckers (n = 30), and non-GAD nonchecking controls (n = 27) using the Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20 (Bagby, Parker, & Taylor, 1994). The results from these studies suggest that compulsive behaviors in the form of compulsive checking is more common in GAD than previously expected and that such behaviors in GAD may act as an additional mechanism by which affective experiences are avoided. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Clin Psychol 57: 705–715, 2001.