An Experimental Manipulation of Responsibility in Children: An investigation into the effects of inflated responsibility on reassurance seeking, checking behaviours and anxiety.

De Wolff, Melissa (2010) An Experimental Manipulation of Responsibility in Children: An investigation into the effects of inflated responsibility on reassurance seeking, checking behaviours and anxiety. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

ABSTRACT
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.
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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.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Mia Reeves
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 09:17
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 09:17
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/48009
DOI:

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