The contribution of thought-action fusion and thought suppression in the development of obsession-like intrusions in normal participants

E.G.C. Rassin*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Both thought-action fusion (TAF: i.e., a cognitive bias implying an inflated sense of responsibility for one's own thoughts) and thought suppression have been claimed to contribute to the development of obsession-like intrusions. Therefore, it seems plausible that conjunction of these phenomena results in highly intense intrusions. However, possible interactions between TAF and thought suppression have not yet been investigated experimentally. In the current study, healthy volunteers were exposed to a TAF-like intrusion. They were, then, randomly assigned to a suppression (n=21) or non-suppression condition (n=19). Next, visual analogue scales (VASs) were completed measuring anxiety, feelings of responsibility and guilt, urge to neutralise and so on. Contrary to expectation, several VAS scores were lower for participants in the suppression group than for those in the non-suppression group. Hence, it is concluded that thought suppression may, at least in the short term, alleviate discomfort caused by TAF-like intrusions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1023-1032
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001

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