A multi-modal investigation of the roles of distress tolerance and emotional reactivity in obsessive-compulsive symptoms

Jesse R. Cougle, Kiara R. Timpano, Shivali Sarawgi, Christian M. Smith, Kristin E. Fitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Emerging evidence implicates important roles of poor distress tolerance and heightened emotional reactivity in obsessive-compulsive disorder. To date, investigations have relied mostly on self-report measures, and we sought to extend the literature by examining the relationship between OC symptoms and distress tolerance, as well as emotional reactivity, using three laboratory assessments. Nonclinical participants (N=167) viewed emotional films associated with four different negative emotions and also completed mirror tracing and handgrip persistence tasks. Greater obsessions scores were predictive of poorer emotional tolerance for a sad film and shorter persistence on the mirror tracing task. Among men only, obsessions were negatively correlated with persistence on the handgrip task. Associations between increased emotional reactivity and washing symptoms also emerged. These findings provide further evidence for the role of poor distress tolerance in obsessions and suggest heightened emotional reactivity may play a role in compulsive washing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)478-492
Number of pages15
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Volume26
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2013

Keywords

  • behavioral assessment
  • distress tolerance
  • emotion regulation
  • obsessions
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • washing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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