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Explanations implicating memory in the causes and severity of checking symptoms have focused primarily on retrospective memory, and relatively little attention has been paid to prospective memory. Limited research has examined the relationship between prospective memory and executive functions. We assessed whether impairments in prospective memory and executive function predict checking symptoms in a sample of 106 adults. Checking symptoms were assessed using the Padua Inventory Washington State University Revision (PI-WSUR). All participants completed the prospective memory questionnaire (PMQ) and four computerised executive function tasks from the CANTAB, measuring inhibition, planning, attention set-shifting and working memory. Prospective memory and inhibition predicted checking symptom severity. Importantly, there were no correlations between internally cued prospective memory and inhibition or between prospective memory aiding strategies and inhibition. These variables appear to have an independent role in checking. The current findings highlight prospective memory and inhibition as key contributors to the checking symptom profile and provide the first evidence that these cognitive processes may independently contribute to checking symptoms. These findings have implications for a model in which memory performance is thought to be secondary to impairments in executive functions.
Impaired action processing may be a key feature of the obsessive-compulsive checking phenomenon, although the mechanism underlying the impairment remains to be explored. We examined the ability to parse a continuous flow of movements and perceptual changes into meaningful segments of action — a key component of action processing — in checking proneness. Participants (N = 65) completed a measure of obsessive-compulsive symptoms and, while viewing four videotaped movies, were requested to detect the transitions between significant action steps. The main result indicated that Checking — but not the other obsessive-compulsive dimensions — was negatively related, with the size of meaningful units identified. These findings suggest that checking proneness may be specifically connected with difficulties in processing actions on the basis of abstract features such as goal-related information. This could explain why people with checking symptoms find it more difficult to determine whether an intended goal has actually been achieved.
Perfectionism has been argued to have both positive and negative aspects. Negative perfectionism has a robust positive correlation with psychopathology. This study explored the personality pattern of a group of clinical participants and a group of athletes in relation to positive and negative perfectionism. The results indicated negative perfectionism is related to neuroticism and agreeableness in both clinical and non-clinical groups. Negative perfectionism was most strongly associated with low agreeableness but had no significant relationship with conscientiousness or extraversion in the clinical sample. In the athlete sample, higher negative perfectionism was most strongly related to higher neuroticism but was also associated with lower extraversion and conscientiousness. In order to more fully understand these relationships and their clinical implications, more studies using validated measures of positive and negative perfectionism with larger samples are required. It would be useful to determine if personality factors of agreeableness and competence could be increased in order to ameliorate the distress associated with negative perfectionism.
Anticipatory processing (AP) is a repetitive thinking style associated with social anxiety that has been understudied relative to other similar constructs (e.g., rumination, worry). The primary goal of this study was the development and evaluation of the Positive Beliefs about Anticipatory Processing Questionnaire (PB-APQ) with a sample of 301 undergraduate students. Further, it was predicted that anticipatory processing would mediate the relationship between positive beliefs about anticipatory processing and social interaction anxiety. The findings from this study suggest that PB-APQ is a valid and reliable construct. Anticipatory processing was shown to partially mediate the relationship between positive beliefs about anticipatory processing and social interaction anxiety. The results provide initial evidence for the suggestion that individuals who tend to hold positive beliefs about anticipatory processing tend to engage in anticipatory processing, which may increase social interaction anxiety.
This prospective experimental study sought to examine the unique effects of emotion dysregulation and impulsivity on risky behaviours over time. To this end, 20 African American women enrolled in a historically Black university in the southern United States were randomly assigned to receive one of two brief empirically supported skills training modules (i.e., emotion modulation [EM] or impulsivity reduction [IR]). Participants completed measures of emotion dysregulation, impulsivity, and past-week risky behaviours before (pre-) and one week after (post-) the experimental manipulation. Participants assigned to the EM condition reported significant improvements from pre- to post-manipulation in overall emotion dysregulation (as well as all specific dimensions of emotion dysregulation other than lack of emotional awareness), as well as two dimensions of impulsivity: negative and positive urgency. Participants assigned to the IR condition reported a significant decrease in one dimension of impulsivity (lack of premeditation) from pre- to post-manipulation. Findings also revealed a significant effect of time on risky behaviours, with participants reporting significantly fewer past-week risky behaviours at the post- (vs. pre-) manipulation assessment. Finally, changes in emotion dysregulation from pre- to post-manipulation accounted for the observed reduction in risky behaviours over time (above and beyond changes in impulsivity dimensions). Results highlight the relevance of emotion dysregulation to risky behaviours and suggest that treatments targeting emotion dysregulation may be useful in reducing risky behaviours.