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Title: Obsessive compulsiveness and sense of self : self-ambivalence, attachment insecurity, shame and self-compassion
Author: Nice, Joshua
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2013
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Background In order to explain the individual differences in obsessions and compulsions theorists have turned to models of the self. There is some initial evidence that self-ambivalence, or having contradictory self-concepts, relates to the occurrence of maladaptive appraisal and, hence, obsessive-compulsiveness. There is preliminary evidence that attachment insecurity, shame and self-compassion are related to levels of obsessive-compulsiveness. Objectives This study was developed to examine the relationships between specific self-concept factors and obsessive-compulsiveness. It was hypothesised that self-ambivalence, attachment insecurity, shame and self-compassion would predict degree of obsessive-compulsiveness. It was expected that self-ambivalence would mediate the relationship between attachment insecurity and obsessive-compulsiveness. Method A cross sectional online survey design was used with a sample of participants recruited from the general population and from charities for people with obsessive-compulsive problems. The study included a sample of 245 participants with varying degrees of obsessive-compulsive severity. The variables measured were obsessive-compulsiveness, self-ambivalence, attachment insecurity, shame, self-compassion and depression. Results The results showed that self-ambivalence, attachment insecurity and shame were positively and highly correlated to obsessive-compulsiveness. Self-compassion was negatively correlated with obsessive-compulsiveness. A regression analysis, controlling for level of depression, showed that self-ambivalence was the strongest predictor of obsessive-compulsiveness. Shame and self-compassion were not significant predictors. A mediation analysis showed that self-ambivalence partially mediated the relationship between attachment insecurity and obsessive-compulsiveness. Conclusion Self-ambivalence is the self-concept factor that most predicts obsessions and compulsions in this study. Theoretically, attachment insecurity may play a role in the development of self-ambivalence and obsessive-compulsiveness although due to the design of the study causal interpretations cannot be made. Shame may be an aspect of self-ambivalence. Both self-ambivalence and shame contrast to self-compassion which appears to represent a healthier relationship with self. Directions for further research and the clinical implications of these findings are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available