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)doi:10.1007/s10608-019-10049-4
Official URL
FunderEconomic and Social Research Council
Publication dates
Online11 Nov 2019
Publication process dates
Accepted03 Oct 2019
Deposited13 Jan 2020

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