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Behav Res Ther. 2001 Jul;39(7):765-76.

Thought-action fusion in individuals with OCD symptoms.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens 30602-3013, USA. amir@egon.psy.uga.edu


Rachman (Rachman, S. (1993). Obsessions, responsibility, and guilt. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 31, 149-154) suggested that patients with OCD may interpret thoughts as having special importance, thus experiencing thought-action fusion (TAF). Shafran, Thordarson and Rachman (Shafran, R., Thordarson, D. S. & Rachman, S. (1996). Thought-action fusion in obsessive compulsive disorder. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 710, 379-391) developed a questionnaire (TAF) and found that obsessives scored higher than non-obsessives on the measure. In the current study, we modified the TAF to include a scale that assessed the "likelihood of events happening to others" as well as ratings of the responsibility and cost for having these thoughts. Replicating previous findings, we found that individuals with OC symptoms gave higher ratings to the likelihood of negative events happening as a result of their negative thoughts. Individuals with OC symptoms also rated the likelihood that they would prevent harm by their positive thoughts higher than did individuals without OC symptoms. These results suggest that the role of thought-action fusion in OCs may extend to exaggerated beliefs about thoughts regarding the reduction of harm.

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