The association of trait mindfulness and self‑compassion with obsessive‑compulsive disorder symptoms: results from a large survey with treatment‑seeking adults

Journal article

Leeuwerik, T., Cavanagh, K. and Strauss, C. 2019. The association of trait mindfulness and self‑compassion with obsessive‑compulsive disorder symptoms: results from a large survey with treatment‑seeking adults. Cognitive Therapy and Research.
AuthorsLeeuwerik, T., Cavanagh, K. and Strauss, C.

Little is known about the role of mindfulness and self-compassion in obsessive-compulsive disorder. This cross-sectional study examined associations of mindfulness and self-compassion with obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms and with the obsessive beliefs and low distress tolerance thought to maintain them. Samples of treatment-seeking adults (N = 1871) and non-treatment-seeking adults (N = 540) completed mindfulness, self-compassion, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxi- ety, depression, obsessive beliefs and distress tolerance questionnaires. Participants with clinically significant obsessive- compulsive disorder symptoms reported lower trait mindfulness and self-compassion compared to participants with clinically significant anxiety/depression and to non-clinical controls. Among the clinical sample, there were medium-large associations between mindfulness and self-compassion and obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms, obsessive beliefs and distress tol- erance. Mindfulness and self-compassion were unique predictors of obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms, controlling for depression severity. Once effects of obsessive beliefs and distress tolerance were controlled, a small effect remained for mindfulness (facets) on obsessing symptoms and for self-compassion on washing and checking symptoms. Directions for future research and clinical implications are considered in conclusion.

KeywordsObsessive-compulsive disorder; Mindfulness; Self-compassion; Obsessive beliefs ; Distress tolerance; OCD
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Official URL
FunderEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Publication dates
Online11 Nov 2019
Publication process dates
Accepted03 Oct 2019
Deposited13 Jan 2020
Output statusPublished

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