Delivering Exposure and Response Prevention for Contamination Fear During the COVID-19 Health Crisis: Clinicians’ Attitudes and Emotional Reactions
The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in novel public health policies around strict adherence to hygienic practices and physical distancing to contain infection. Mental health clinicians were thus obligated to work around these restrictions in delivering exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP) for individuals with OCD-related contamination fear. ERP is considered the gold standard treatment for contamination fear and hesitancy in conducting ERP can lead to suboptimal delivery during an especially distressing period for persons with OCD. Clinicians’ attitudes and emotional reactions around intolerance of uncertainty, COVID-19-related stress (COVID stress), and behavioral immune system (BIS) activation and BIS sensitivity can negatively impact beliefs about exposure and ERP delivery. Anxiety and OCD practitioners in the U.S. completed an online Qualtrics survey in March/April 2020 on their clinical practices during the pandemic, as well as a follow-up survey about 3 months later. Intolerance of uncertainty, COVID stress, BIS activation, and BIS sensitivity positively predicted negative beliefs about exposure (at differing time points) while COVID stress positively predicted cautious ERP delivery. These findings point to important targets to mitigate clinicians’ hesitancy around ERP delivery and provide guidance for future pandemics.
Clinical psychology|Mental health|Public health
Minaya, Charlene, "Delivering Exposure and Response Prevention for Contamination Fear During the COVID-19 Health Crisis: Clinicians’ Attitudes and Emotional Reactions" (2021). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28712942.