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Title: An experimental manipulation of responsibility in children : an investigation into the effects of inflated responsibility on reassurance seeking, checking behaviours and anxiety
Author: De Wolff, Melissa
ISNI:       0000 0004 2706 758X
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2010
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Objectives: There is an increasing amount of evidence which suggests that the cognitive models of obsessive-compulsive disorder can be applied to children. However, until now only two studies have used an experimental design to investigate the causal links between cognitive processes and childhood OCD. Therefore, the initial aim of this study was to develop these studies in order to further investigate the inflated responsibility model of childhood OCD. The secondary aim of this study is to investigate the effect of child’s reassurance seeking on mother’s reassurance giving behaviour. Method: This study used an experimental between subjects design adapted from previous experimental research with adults and children. 52 participants aged 9-11 were randomly assigned to either a high responsibility group or a control group. Dependent variables were perceived responsibility, anxiety, checking behaviours and reassurance seeking. Results: After the manipulation, children in the high responsibility group reported higher perceived responsibility than those in the control group. There were no group differences in post-task anxiety, while controlling for baseline anxiety. Children in the high responsibility group took longer to complete the task and also checked, hesitated and sought more reassurance than those in the control group. Mothers with children in the high responsibility group did not provide more reassurance than those with children in the control group. 12 Conclusions: The findings offer support for the link between inflated responsibility and childhood OCD by providing preliminary evidence for a causal link between inflated responsibility, checking behaviours and reassurance seeking. The study did not find a link between children’s reassurance seeking and mother’s reassurance giving behaviours. There are a number of methodological limitations that need to be to be considered when interpreting the results. The findings are discussed in relation the implications for the cognitive model of OCD, treatment for young people with OCD and directions for future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available