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Mental contamination: Relationship with psychopathology and transdiagnostic processes

Coughtrey, A; Shafran, R; Bennett, S; Kothari, R; Wade, T; (2018) Mental contamination: Relationship with psychopathology and transdiagnostic processes. Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders , 17 pp. 39-45. 10.1016/j.jocrd.2017.08.009. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Mental contamination, the experience of feeling dirty in the absence of physical uncleanliness, is closely associated with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Given that many features of OCD are found in other diagnoses, the primary aim of this study was to determine whether mental contamination is specific to OCD or whether it is also associated with psychopathology found in other disorders. We hypothesised that, in addition to OCD symptoms, mental contamination would be associated with other psychopathology, in particular symptoms of depression, anxiety and eating disorders, and with transdiagnostic processes such as perfectionism. METHODS: 120 participants (82%) completed measures of psychological disorders and transdiagnostic processes. Results were analysed using Pearson's r correlations and a multiple regression analysis. RESULTS: Mental contamination was most strongly associated with symptoms of OCD but was also associated with eating disorder symptoms, depression and anxiety. It was also correlated with perfectionism, intolerance of uncertainty and fear of compassion. OCD, eating disorder symptoms, fear of compassion and low self-esteem were significant independent predictors of mental contamination. CONCLUSIONS: Mental contamination is associated with a range of psychopathology but is most strongly associated with symptoms of OCD. Further research is warranted to advance treatment for mental contamination.

Type: Article
Title: Mental contamination: Relationship with psychopathology and transdiagnostic processes
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jocrd.2017.08.009
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jocrd.2017.08.009
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Population, Policy and Practice Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1576402
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