An examination of obsessive-compulsive symptoms and dimensions using profile analysis via multidimensional scaling (PAMS) Academic Article uri icon

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  • Contemporary cognitive models of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) emphasize the importance of various types of dysfunctional beliefs in contributing to OC symptoms, such as beliefs about excessive personal responsibility, perfectionism, and intolerance for uncertainty. The present study seeks to further our understanding of the role of these beliefs by identifying the common profiles of such beliefs, using profile analysis via multidimensional scaling (PAMS). In Study 1, a large student sample (N=4079) completed the 44-item obsessive beliefs questionnaire. One major profile, control of thoughts and perfectionism, was extracted. Study 2 examined profiles of the 87-item obsessive beliefs questionnaire in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD; n=398), other anxiety disorders (n=104), and a sample of undergraduate students (n=285). Inflated responsibility was a prominent subscale in the profiles of all three groups. Only control over thoughts was a unique subscale in the profile obtained for the OCD group, with this group having lower scores compared to the other groups. The results suggest that while inflated responsibility is a significant subscale in the profile of individuals with OCD, it is not a unique contributor; instead, control over thoughts is unique to OCD. The data, as well as recent research investigating obsessive beliefs, suggest the need to revise the contemporary cognitive model of OCD.


  • McKay, Dean
  • Kim, Se-Kang
  • Taylor, S. Martin
  • Abramowitz, Jonathan S
  • Tolin, David
  • Coles, Meredith
  • Timpano, Kiara R
  • Olatunji, Bunmi

publication date

  • May 2014

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