Shared Cognitive Features of Posttraumatic Cognitions and Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms

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Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) frequently co-occur. However, the shared features of these conditions have been under-examined. Evaluation of the common aspects of posttraumatic and obsessive–compulsive (OC) symptoms could improve treatment responsivity for individuals with comorbid PTSD and OCD, for whom outcome is typically poorer than for those with either disorder alone. This study examined intolerance of uncertainty, inflated responsibil- ity, and a global measure of posttraumatic cognitions as potential shared cognitive constructs that moderate distress associated with OC symptoms. A total of 211 undergrad- uate students reporting significant trauma histories partic- ipated. All participants completed measures of obsessive– compulsive symptoms and beliefs, as well as posttraumatic cognitions. Results indicated that posttraumatic cognitions moderated the relationship between inflated responsibility and intolerance of uncertainty, which in turn predicted all domains of obsessive–compulsive symptom distress (all bs [ 0.41, all zs [ 3.44). Further, posttraumatic cognitions alone significantly predicting OC symptoms related to doubting, obsessions, and neutralizing. These findings suggest that shared cognitive constructs play a role in co- occurring posttraumatic stress and OC symptoms, and thus may be a relevant treatment target when these disorders present simultaneously.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.