Anti-Disgust Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Contamination-Based Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial

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Behzad Salmani, Francesco Mancini, Jafar Hasani, Zahra Zanjani (2022): Anti-Disgust Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Contamination-Based Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. In: Journal of Clinical Medicine, 11 (10), pp. 2875, 2022.

Abstract

Background: Disgust is a strong and persistent emotion that frequently occurs during exposure-based treatments for contamination-based obsessive compulsive disorder (C-OCD). This study aimed to examine the efficacy of augmenting cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with a novel type of anti-disgust cognitive intervention in reducing the severity of OCD, disgust propensity/sensitivity, and refusal rate of exposure and response prevention, while simultaneously increasing acceptance of disgust. Materials and Methods: Fifty-five individuals with C-OCD (mean age 28.1 years, SD = 3.52; 77% female) were randomly assigned to 15 weekly sessions of anti-disgust plus CBT (AD-CBT) or CBT alone. They were evaluated for outcomes four times (pretreatment, prior to exposure and response prevention (ERP) sessions, posttreatment, and three-month follow-up), and mixed-design ANOVAs were used to analyze the data. Results: The findings indicated that when compared to CBT alone, AD-CBT significantly reduced OCD severity, disgust propensity/sensitivity, and concurrently increased disgust acceptance (p < 0.001). Additionally, engaging in an anti-disgust cognitive intervention was associated with lower ERP refusal rate (4% vs. 16%). The superiority of AD-CBT over CBT persisted through the three-month follow-up period. Conclusions: The current study suggests that supplementing CBT for C-OCD with an anti-disgust cognitive intervention significantly increased acceptance of disgust and decreased the refusal rate of ERP, OCD severity, and disgust-related factors.

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