Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 108–117 | Cite as

Obsessive Beliefs and Dimensions of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: An Examination of Specific Associations

  • Megan A. Viar
  • Sarah A. Bilsky
  • Thomas Armstrong
  • Bunmi O. Olatunji
Original Article


Although current cognitive-behavioral models have highlighted a central role of dysfunctional “obsessive beliefs” about threat, responsibility, uncertainty, perfectionism, importance and control of thoughts in the development of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), empirical evidence in support of this notion has been inconsistent. The present investigation further examines the association between obsessive beliefs and OCD symptoms among nonclinical (Study 1) and clinical samples (Study 2). Findings from Study 1 (n = 368) demonstrated that OCD symptom dimensions are associated with some form of obsessive belief (generality). Although findings from Study 1 revealed that different obsessive beliefs related to different OCD symptom dimensions in a meaningful way (congruence), findings from Study 2 failed to support the hypothesis that OCD patients (n = 30) would endorse obsessive beliefs more strongly than patients (n = 30) with generalized anxiety disorder (specificity). However, both patient groups endorsed obsessive beliefs more strongly than non-clinical controls (n = 30). Implications of these findings for conceptualizing the relationship between obsessive beliefs and specific dimensions of OCD are discussed.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder Obsessive beliefs Symptom dimensions Vulnerability Specificity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Megan A. Viar
    • 1
  • Sarah A. Bilsky
    • 1
  • Thomas Armstrong
    • 1
  • Bunmi O. Olatunji
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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