Context is Everything: An Investigation of Responsibility Beliefs and Interpretations and the Relationship with Obsessive-Compulsive Symptomatology across the Perinatal Period

Roxanne Barrett, Abigail Wroe, Fiona Challacombe

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Background: The Cognitive-Behavioural Model of Perinatal OCD suggests the role of increased sense of responsibility during the perinatal period in the development and maintenance of Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms. However, the idiosyncratic nature of responsibility attitudes and interpretations of intrusions is not fully understood.
Aims: To investigate how responsibility interpretations regarding intrusions vary across the perinatal period and how this relates to obsessive-compulsive symptomatology.
Method: 94 women (26 antenatal, 35 postpartum and 33 non-childbearing controls) completed measures of responsibility attitudes and interpretations regarding specific intrusions (either general or baby-related), as well as obsessive-compulsive symptomatology, anxiety and depression.
Results: Postpartum ratings of responsibility interpretations regarding baby-related intrusions were significantly higher than i) postpartum ratings of responsibility interpretations regarding non-baby intrusions and i) control group responsibility interpretations. The groups were not significantly different regarding general responsibility ratings. Ratings of baby-related responsibility interpretations predicted variance in obsessive-compulsive symptomatology.
Conclusion: The postpartum group showed significant differences in responsibility interpretations regarding baby-related intrusions. These responsibility interpretations were shown to predict obsessive-compulsive symptomatology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-330
Number of pages13
JournalBehavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy
Issue number3
Early online date24 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - May 2016

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