The persistence of compulsive checking: The role of distrust in attention and perception
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A growing literature suggests that individuals repeatedly check in part because they lack confidence in their memories for previously-completed actions. It has also been hypothesized that the cognitive distrust demonstrated by individuals with OCD extends beyond memory to related factors such as attention and perception; however, the relation between distrust in attention, perception and memory has yet to be examined. The present study examined the extent to which distrust in attention and perception relate to memory distrust and compulsive checking in participants ranging in OCD symptom severity. A measure of distrust in attention and perception was developed for this purpose. Initial psychometric results indicated that distrust in attention and perception can be measured reliably and that it is related to previously-established metacognitive factors (e.g., distrust in memory) and OCD-relevant beliefs (e.g., inflated sense of responsibility). Importantly, the present results also indicated that distrust in attention and perception contributed to checking symptoms beyond memory distrust, baseline negative mood and neuroticism, and previously-established OCD beliefs (i.e., inflated sense of responsibility). Taken together, these findings suggest that distrust in attention and perception may be an important mechanism in the persistence of compulsive checking.