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Depress Anxiety. 2018 Mar;35(3):256-263. doi: 10.1002/da.22720. Epub 2018 Feb 2.

Behavioral avoidance predicts treatment outcome with exposure and response prevention for obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Author information

1
Barnard College, New York, NY, USA.
2
New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.
3
Columbia Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
4
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Many individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) display behavioral avoidance related to their obsessional thoughts and compulsive behaviors. However, how these avoidance behaviors impact treatment outcomes with exposure and response prevention (EX/RP) remains unclear. We examined pretreatment avoidance behaviors as predictors of EX/RP outcomes.

METHODS:

Data came from a randomized controlled trial of augmentation strategies for inadequate response to serotonin reuptake inhibitors comparing EX/RP (N = 40), risperidone (N = 40), and placebo (N = 20). Baseline avoidance was rated with the avoidance item from the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (YBOCS). Primary analyses examined avoidance behaviors as predictors of EX/RP outcomes. To test specificity, we explored whether avoidance also related to outcomes among patients receiving risperidone and placebo.

RESULTS:

More than half (69%) of the full sample had moderate or severe avoidance behaviors at baseline. In EX/RP, controlling for baseline severity, pretreatment avoidance predicted posttreatment YBOCS symptoms (β = 0.45, P < .01). Avoidant individuals were less likely to achieve remission with EX/RP (odds ratio = 0.04, 95% confidence interval [CI] range 0.01-0.28, P = .001). Baseline avoidance was also associated with degree of patient adherence to between-session EX/RP assignments, which mediated the relationship between baseline avoidance and EX/RP outcomes (P < .05). Baseline avoidance did not predict outcomes or wellness among patients receiving risperidone or placebo.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results suggest that avoidance behaviors are an important clinical factor in EX/RP outcomes and indicate that assessing avoidance may provide an efficient method for predicting EX/RP outcomes. Avoidance may be particularly relevant in EX/RP as compared to medication treatment, though future replication of these initial results is required.

KEYWORDS:

avoidance; cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT); exposure and response prevention; obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); predictors

PMID:
29394511
DOI:
10.1002/da.22720
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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