Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder across Developmental Trajectory: Cognitive Processing of Threat in Children, Adolescents, and Adults
Everybody experiences intrusive thoughts once in a while, yet we think nothing of it most of the time. However, for people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, such thoughts occur frequently, and they are likely to be interpreted with more emotional intensity, and are highly uncontrollable. Obsessions signify the extreme end on a continuum of normal, unwanted, intrusive thinking. Studies have shown that the central components of the cognitive theory have found evidence supporting cognitive biases of increased responsibility, probability, and severity of harm related to OCD symptoms. It was hypothesized that adolescents will have higher OCD-related cognitive bias ratings of threat including adults compared to children. It was also hypothesized that adults will have a higher rating than adolescents. Results have shown that it is indeed the children that were less affected by these intrusive thoughts and cognitive biases.
Participants for this study were recruited through referrals and advertising. Children and adolescents ranging from the ages of 6 to 17 years of age were recruited and adults through conjoint advertising with the treatment study, and were offered CBT treatment (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) for participating. All of them were selected on the basis of a primary diagnosis of OCD using the DSM-IV. The study used two separate assessment study; idiographic cognitive assessment tasks, and a self-report assessment package. The entire sample consisted 34 children (6-11 years old), 39 adolescents (12-17 years old), and 38 adults (18-66 years old).
The results of this study showed that children with OCD have fewer anxious intrusive thoughts compared to adolescents. At the same time, children are also reported to have fewer depressive intrusive thoughts compared to adults, with less sadness, worry, disapproval, and...
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