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Pathological Responsibility, Thought-Action Fusion, and Thought Control in OCD 

Pathological Responsibility, Thought-Action Fusion, and Thought Control in OCD
Pathological Responsibility, Thought-Action Fusion, and Thought Control in OCD

Christine Purdon

, and C. Psych

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date: 26 June 2022

Leading models of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) implicate overvalued beliefs about responsibility, beliefs about the relationship of thoughts to external events and morality (thought-action fusion), and thought control as key factors in the development and the persistence of the disorder. This chapter provides an overview of these three factors and presents case examples, empirical support, and clinical implications. Considerable empirical research indicates that people with OCD tend to endorse beliefs reflecting an overvalued responsibility and thought-action fusion (TAF). However, it is also clear that these beliefs, particularly TAF beliefs, are not unique to OCD. It has been proposed that attempts at thought suppression ironically lead to an increase in thought frequency; research has generally not yielded support for such an effect, nor for response inhibition deficits. However, there is converging evidence that suppression may have insidious effects on the appraisal of thought recurrences and mood state. Clinical implications are discussed.

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