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Adult attachment insecurities are associated with obsessive compulsive disorder

journal contribution
posted on 2012-06-01, 00:00 authored by G Doron, Richard MouldingRichard Moulding, M Nedeljkovic, M Kyrios, M Mikulincer, D Sar-El
Objectives.  Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is one of the most disabling and highly prevalent anxiety disorders (ADs). Current cognitive models of OCD implicate views about the self and world in the maintenance of the disorder. However, little research has focused on issues that may lead to vulnerability to such views. In particular, a person's attachment insecurities (attachment anxiety, avoidance) may be important risk factors increasing the likelihood of such non-adaptive perceptions (Doron & Kyrios, 2005).

Design.  Participants meeting criteria for OCD were compared with cohorts meeting criteria for other ADs and healthy controls on a range of measures including adult attachment, OC symptoms, cognitions, and mood.

Methods.  Diagnosis of the clinical groups was established using the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule for DSM-IV (Brown, Di Nardo, & Barlow, 1994). The clinical relevance of attachment insecurities was ascertained by comparing their prevalence in an OCD sample (N= 30), an ADs sample (N= 20), and a community sample (N= 32). Results.  Attachment anxiety was significantly higher in individuals with OCD, even when controlling for depression.

Conclusions.  Addressing attachment anxiety in individuals presenting with OCD may be important for enhancing therapeutic outcomes. However, findings are based on cross-sectional data that preclude conclusions relating to causal influence.



Psychology and psychotherapy : theory, research and practice






163 - 178


British Psychological Society


Leicester, England





Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal