Differentiating among singular and comorbid obsessive-compulsive disorder and social phobia symptomology

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Social phobia is a frequent co-occurring diagnosis with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); however, co-occurring OCD in those with social phobia is less common. Genetic, environmental, and cognitive traits are common risk factors for anxiety disorders broadly. It is plausible that shared variables related to OCD and/or social phobia could provide insight into the co-occurrence of these two disorders. The current study explored differences in fear of negative evaluation (FNE) and perfectionism among four groups: those with (1) elevated social phobia symptoms, (2) elevated OCD symptoms, (3) elevated symptoms of OCD and social phobia, and those who were (4) asymptomatic as a control group. A non-clinical sample of 196 participants completed several online questionnaires about social phobia and OCD symptomology. Results identified three cognitive variables (i.e., FNE, total perfectionism, and concern over mistakes) as differential variables in comorbid symptom presentation of OCD and social phobia. A fourth variable (i.e., doubts about actions) was identified as a potential dual risk factor, and four subsequent variables (i.e., parental criticism, personal standards, parental expectations, and organization) were not implicated in differential symptom presentation. Given the different rates of OCD and social phobia co-occurrence, identification of differentiating variables could aid in better understanding of potential risk factors, which may enhance preventative and therapeutic techniques. Study implications, limitations, and future recommendations are discussed.

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Cognitive behaviour therapy

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