OCD Questionnaire Offers Clue on Mental Health Problems of the Person

First Posted: May 14, 2014 05:40 AM EDT

A short questionnaire used to assess the risk factors of Obsessive-compulsive disorder may also offer clues about other existing mental health problems, a new study reveals.

Researchers at Baylor University claim that the questionnaire psychologists use to assess the risk factors for OCD may also help determine the risk of depression and anxiety in the person.

"The revision may be a good fit for assessing the risk of mental health issues stemming from certain beliefs -- such as seeing threats as greater than they are and feeling that things are not right unless they are perfect. Such dysfunctional beliefs are central to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD),"  said researcher Thomas Fergus, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience in Baylor's College of Arts and Sciences.

The Initial Obesessive Beliefs Questionnaire that was developed in the year 2001 included 87 items, which has been revised most recently in 2011.   The new revised questionnaire includes just 20 questions with the concept intact.

People diagnosed with OCD are more likely to overestimate threats, experience an extreme sense of responsibility and work toward being perfectionists, suffer from fearful disturbing thoughts and lack control. Person with OCD experiences symptoms such as repeated checking for order and excessive washing of hands.

"At one time, the questionnaire was used because it was thought that responsibility or overestimation of threat might be specific to OCD," Fergus said. "But the short of it now is that certain beliefs appear to be relevant for more than OCD, so this might help us better understand depression and anxiety and have a broader application."

 The finding was also based on two studies. The first study included 48 participants who visited an outpatient clinic and received treatment for stress and anxiety disorders. The second study included 507 non clinical adults selected online.

The participants of the first study were provided both the original and revised version of questionnaire. The researchers got similar results from both the questionnaires.  Those from the second study were given the shorter Obsessive Beliefs Questionnaire used to assess OCD symptoms and determine depression and anxiety.  The results revealed no difference in the beliefs linked to OCD, depression and anxiety.

The researchers consider this to be a useful tool not just for research but also treatment of patients and interventions.

The finding was documented in the Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioural Assessment.

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