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Randomized Controlled Trial
. 2013 Mar;27(2):231-9.
doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2013.02.003. Epub 2013 Feb 27.

A Multi-Method Examination of the Role of Incompleteness in Compulsive Checking

Randomized Controlled Trial

A Multi-Method Examination of the Role of Incompleteness in Compulsive Checking

Jesse R Cougle et al. J Anxiety Disord. .


Emerging evidence implicates an important relationship between feelings of incompleteness and compulsive checking. To date, this work has relied mostly on self-report measures and correlational research designs. We explored the relationship in three different studies using in vivo tasks. In Study 1, we found checking symptoms to be uniquely associated with negative affective response to a pile of clutter (an incompleteness induction). In Study 2, two different measures of incompleteness were predictive of urge to check following a stove checking task. In Study 3, following a stove checking task, participants were randomized to incompleteness induction or control conditions, and urge to check was assessed afterwards. Among those with elevated checking symptoms and dispositional incompleteness, the incompleteness induction led to greater urge to check than the control condition. No effect of condition was found among those low in checking symptoms and dispositional incompleteness. Together, these studies provide novel data in support of an important role for incompleteness in checking compulsions.

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