This study is being carried out at the University of Oxford, the Oxford Institute of Clinical Psychology and Research. The aim is to find out more about how people experience seeking and receiving reassurance from others for OCD symptoms, and whether it differs to people’s experience of seeking and receiving support from others for OCD symptoms instead.
This study is being carried out by Chiara Causier at the University of Oxford, UK, who is a Trainee Clinical Psychologist at the Oxford Institute of Clinical Psychology and Research. The study is supervised by Professor Paul Salkovskis (a consultant clinical psychologist). This study has been reviewed by, and received ethics clearance through, a subcommittee of the University of Oxford Central University Research Ethics Committee (R79097/RE001).
The purpose of this research study is to find out more about how people experience seeking and receiving reassurance from others for OCD symptoms, and whether it differs to people’s experience of seeking and receiving support from others for OCD symptoms instead. Therefore, please understand that this study will ask questions about your OCD, and reassurance-seeking behaviours.
Many people will experience the urge to seek reassurance from time to time, often in response to scenarios that they may feel uncertain or anxious about, in an attempt to reduce feelings of discomfort and uncertainty. For example, someone may ask if their outfit looks acceptable for an interview and feel reassured by the response that they look professional before continuing on with their day.
In people who experience obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), this reassurance seeking can be much more persistent in an attempt to reduce the discomfort or uncertainty surrounding obsessional thoughts and/or compulsions. For example, someone with OCD may ask their partner every time they leave the house if they are sure that they locked the door, and despite receiving a reassuring response, will remain anxious and uncertain. As a result, they seek further reassurance, which is thought to maintain the symptoms of OCD.
Currently, treatments that recommend reassurance-seeking and provision should be eliminated are often not well-tolerated by those experiencing OCD and their loved ones. We are therefore interested in understanding the effects and acceptability of an alternative strategy to reducing anxiety and uncertainty: the seeking and receiving of support to tolerate distress. We are also interested in better understanding how effective and acceptable seeking and receiving support is in its aim of reducing anxiety and uncertainty, so that we are able to compare the two.
If you agree to take part in this study, you will be asked to complete a screening questionnaire which will involve 6 screening questions, and 2 questionnaires about your OCD symptoms and reassurance-seeking behaviours. This should take about 15 minutes. Please note, if you are eligible for the study, you will then be invited to take part in a 45 to 60-minute video call on Microsoft Teams at a mutually convenient time. This will involve you speaking with the researcher about an obsession you commonly seek reassurance and support for, listening to two vignettes based on that obsession, and answering some online questionnaires based on the vignettes. You will also complete a grounding exercise at two points during the call.