Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Obsessive-compulsive beliefs and treatment outcome

  • P. T. Lelliott (a1), H. F. Noshirvani (a1), M. Başoǧlu (a1), I. M. Marks (a1) and W. O. Monteiro (a1)...

Of 49 compulsive ritualizers one-third perceived their obsessive thoughts as rational and felt that their rituals warded off some unwanted or feared event (the content of their obsessions). The more bizarre the obsessive belief the more strongly it was defended and 12% of cases made no attempt to resist the urge to ritualize. Neither fixity of belief nor resistance to compulsive urges were related to duration of illness. Patients with bizarre and fixed obsessive beliefs responded as well to treatment (all but three received exposure), as did patients whose obsessions were less bizarre and recognized as senseless. There was no difference in outcome between patients who initially found it hard to control their obsessions or never resisted the urge to ritualize and those who initially could control obsessions or resist rituals. One year after starting treatment, patients whose obsessions and compulsions had improved with treatment recognized their irrationality more readily and controlled their compulsive urges more easily. Beliefs appeared to normalize as a function of habituation.

Corresponding author
1Address for correspondence: Professor Isaac Marks, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London, SE5 8AF.
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

E. B. Foa (1979). Failure in treating obsessive-compulsives. Behaviour Research and Therapy 17, 169176.

A. M. Freedman , H. I. Kaplan & B. J. Sadock (1972). Obsessive compulsive neurosis. In Modern Synopsis of Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, Williams and Wilkins: Baltimore.

I. M. Marks , R. S. Stern , D. Mawson , J. Cobb & R. McDonald (1980). Clomipramine and exposure for obsessive compulsive rituals. I. British Journal of Psychiatry 136, 125.

V. J. Walker (1973). Explanation in obsessional neurosis. British Journal of Psychiatry 123, 675680.

V. J. Walker & H. R. Beech (1969). Mood state and ritualistic behaviour of obsessional patients. British Journal of Psychiatry 115, 12611268.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0033-2917
  • EISSN: 1469-8978
  • URL: /core/journals/psychological-medicine
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 5 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 88 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 26th May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.