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Title: Theoretical and clinical investigation into the concept of mental contamination in relation to OCD and its relationship with mental health difficulties
Author: Firmin, Chris
ISNI:       0000 0004 7432 6337
Awarding Body: University of Bath
Current Institution: University of Bath
Date of Award: 2018
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Cognitive theories of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) emphasise misappraisal of intrusive cognitions in terms of responsibility for harm which motivates neutralising behaviour. Sufferers experience intense fear, distress and problematic behaviours as vicious circles which maintain the problem. CBT focusses on these maintenance factors to the extent that these are identifiable. In some instances, these factors may be closely linked to historical and developmental issues. Contamination is a common subtype of OCD, and recent work has suggested the importance of Mental Contamination (MC) as an internal form not requiring physical contact to be triggered; it may be linked to memories of past associations with the triggering stimuli. Morality seems to be important and MC has been associated with betrayal, degradation, humiliation and attacks on self-perception; this can all be experienced when bullied. The programme of research described here focusses on bullying as a traumatic life event. which can result in the development of problematic associations with 'obsessional' stimuli and motivate compulsive behaviour. Bullying is known to be a potent life event linked to a range of mental health problems (MHP) and related difficulties. The first study was conducted on a general population sample, divided by bullying experiences (yes n=39, no n=54). Participants who reported bullying scored significantly higher on measures of OCD, MC, anxiety and depression. Study 2 focussed on therapists' attitudes towards bullying (n=62); all believing bullying affects MHP including OCD. Study 3 was based on an OCD sample (bullied n=16, not n=4) and a control group (bullied n=11, not n=32); 80% of clinical participants reported experiencing bullying. Results suggest a relationship between bullying, OCD, and MC. This relationship is more complex than just the anxiety component. When depression and anxiety were controlled for, there was still an association. If confirmed, this relationship has implications for treating and preventing MC.
Supervisor: Salkovskis, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available