Do punitive ostracism experiences add to our understanding of obsessive compulsive beliefs and their relationship to obsessive compulsive symptoms?: an exploratory study and pilot of a new measure

Middleton, Stella Elaine

Clinical psychology

Thesis or dissertation

© 2011 Stella Elaine Middleton. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

This study makes a case for a biopsychosocial model of OCD that draws together fragmented bodies of evidence and understandings from different academic fields. Evidence for biological and psychological contributions to the aetiology and maintenance of the disorder are reviewed with particular attention to the cognitive appraisal model. The cognitive model does not fully explain the high inter-relationships between OCD-related belief domains or why collectively they have specificity for predicting OCD over and above other disorders, implying that another variable may underlie these domains. The traditional conceptualisation of cognition may benefit from being broadened to encompass biological and social aspects. Ostracism research, neuroscientific evidence, evolutionary theory and psycho-linguistic theory (specifically dialogism theory, which conceptualises thinking as dialogue between internalised “voices”) may cast further light on a common domain contributing to different OCD-relevant beliefs. The term “punitive ostracism experiences” (POE) is coined to describe a variable that may form this common domain. POE consists of memories of non-contingent punitive ostracism in childhood; unforgiving self-to-self relating; and social information processing bias reflected in attributions of ostracism intent in ambiguous situations. POE was operationalized using existing and adapted measures and a new intent attributions measure which was constructed for the purposes of this study. The constituent variables of POE were hypothesised to contribute to the variance of obsessive beliefs factors and to explain some of the relationship between obsessive beliefs and obsessive compulsive symptoms in a non-clinical sample. Evidence that is supportive of this hypothesis is presented. Conclusions are drawn and suggestions for future research are made. Implications for clinical practise are also considered.

Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychological Therapies, The University of Hull
Oakes, Peter Michael
Qualification level
Qualification name
Filesize: 916KB
QR Code