Purdon, C., & Clark, D. A. (1994). Obsessive intrusive thoughts in nonclinical subjects. Part II. Cognitive appraisal, emotional response and thought control strategies Behaviour research and therapy, 32(4), 403–410.
Rucklab continues to review the saga of CBT for OCD. We have now reached 1994 when Purdon & Clark investigated 270 subjects cognitive, emotional, and thought control responses to their most upsetting intrusive thought, image or impulse.
Results showed that the stronger one believes that he/she could act on the intrusion, the more persistent and less controllable the intrusive thought. The authors conclude that perceived responsibility for harm or danger occurring to self or others is a critical factor in the escalation of unwanted intrusive thoughts, images and impulses.
High scoring subjects also reported greater efforts to avoid cues that might trigger the intrusion, stronger belief that they could act on the intrusion, and less success in utilizing their most typical thought control strategy in efforts to suppress the upsetting intrusive thought.
Why is this interesting?
This is one of the milestones in the current CBT model for OCD. The authors conclude that “Our findings are consistent with the cognitive behavioural model of obsessions proposed by Salkovskis which contends that dysfunctional beliefs involving exaggerated harm and personal responsibility are crucial in the persistence of unwanted intrusive thoughts and obsessions. We are continuing research in this area as a means of understanding why some individuals present with persistent and uncontrollable intrusive thoughts, images and impulses.”