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J Anxiety Disord. 2009 Jan;23(1):145-9. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2008.06.001. Epub 2008 Jun 7.

Obsessive beliefs in first-degree relatives of patients with OCD: a test of the cognitive vulnerability model.

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  • 1Anxiety Disorders Clinic, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Cognitive models of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) focus on the role of dysfunctional beliefs and appraisals in conferring risk to the onset and persistence of clinical obsessions. The origins of obsessive beliefs have been proposed to occur within a familial-based developmental context, although little research has examined this empirically. The aim of the present study was to examine the familial cognitive vulnerability for OCD by comparing scores on the Obsessive Beliefs Questionnaire (OBQ) [Obsessive Compulsive Cognitions Working Group (2005). Psychometric validation of the obsessive beliefs questionnaire and interpretation of intrusions inventory-Part 2. Factor analyses and testing of a brief version. Behavior Research and Therapy, 43, 1527-1542] between DSM-IV diagnosed OCD probands, their nonaffected first-degree relatives, and nonaffected controls. First-degree relatives scored significantly higher than controls on the OBQ domain tapping inflated responsibility and overestimation of threat. Further, relatives of early onset OCD probands scored significantly higher than controls on both the inflated responsibility and overestimation of threat domain and the domain tapping perfectionism and intolerance of uncertainty. The results are discussed in relation to the developmental context of cognitive-based vulnerabilities for OCD.

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