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Objectives. Despite the important role of doubt in understanding obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), current cognitive models of OCD usually do not separate this initial doubt from the anticipated consequence of not ritualizing. The current study evaluates belief in the obsessional doubt as a real probability as an additional cognitive dimension of obsessive-compulsive (OC) beliefs.

Methods. One hundred and fifteen participants with OCD completed four clinical scales measuring different OC beliefs in: (a) the real probability of obsessional doubt; (b) the realism of anticipated consequences; (c) the degree of conviction in the need to perform rituals; and (d) the perceived ability to resist rituals. The severity of symptomatology was also evaluated.

Design. Using cross-sectional and longitudinal data, correlational analyses were performed to determine the relationship between OC beliefs as well as to observe how these beliefs may be related to the severity of symptomatology and how they fluctuated over time. Regression analyses were also employed to verify which OC beliefs better predicted the perceived ability to resist rituals.

Results. Belief in the obsessional doubt as a real probability was significantly related to other OC beliefs. Also, levels of belief for the same doubt remained stable for a period of two weeks, but different levels of belief were observed for distinct obsessional doubts measured at the same time. Finally, belief in the obsessional doubt as a real probability better predicted the perceived ability to resist rituals than other OC beliefs.

Conclusions. Belief in the obsessional doubt as a real probability may be an important dimension to consider when evaluating OC beliefs in treatment resistant OCD, particularly in people who have low perceived ability to resist rituals.