ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 2, Issue 1, 44-62, 2011
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An Experimental Investigation of Factors Involved in Excessive Reassurance Seeking: The Effects of Perceived Threat, Responsibility and Ambiguity on Compulsive Urges and Anxiety

Chris L. Parrish and Adam S. Radomsky
Concordia University, Montreal, Canada

Volume 2, Issue 1, 2011, Pages 44-62

Excessive reassurance seeking is a common problem among individuals diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Given the proposed functional similarities between OCD-related reassurance seeking and compulsive checking (Rachman, 2002), it was hypothesized that some of the factors contributing to the onset and maintenance of episodes of these two behaviours might be shared, whereas other factors (e.g., ambiguity of feedback) may play a unique role in the persistence of reassurance seeking. The current experiment examined how manipulations of threat, responsibility, and ambiguity of feedback impacted upon non-clinical participants' (N = 176) anxiety and compulsive urges (to seek reassurance and to check) in a series of experimental vignettes. Consistent with hypotheses, higher levels of perceived threat, responsibility and ambiguity of feedback were associated with higher anxiety and compulsive urges. Results are discussed in terms of cognitive-behavioural models of, and treatments for OCD.

Table of Contents
  Participant Characteristics
  Imagery ability
  Manipulation checks
  Multivariate analyses
  Univariate analyses

Correspondence to
Adam S. Radomsky, Department of Psychology, Concordia University, 7141 Sherbrooke St. West, Montreal, QC, H4B 1R6, CANADA.

Responsibility; Threat; Ambiguity; Reassurance seeking; Checking

Received 20 Jul 2010; Revised 4 Nov 2010; Accepted 25 Nov 2010; In Press 31 Jan 2011

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