A Comparative Review of (Meta)Cognitive Biases in Children, Adolescents and Adults with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

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Rademakers, Masha
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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a chronic neuro-psychiatric disorder characterized by repetitive obsessions and/or compulsions, estimated to affect at least 1 in every 200 children and adolescents, and 1 in every 100 adults. (Meta)cognitive processes, and especially a thinking style defined as Magical Thinking in the OCD literature, appears to play a large role in the development and maintenance of intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Current treatment approaches lack age-specific cognitive aspects that apply to youth, and more insight into the age specific factors influencing cognitive belief domains is needed to improve efficacy of treatment approaches. This research paper aims to provide age-related information regarding the developmental trajectory of (meta)cognitive biases that influence the onset and maintenance of OCD. A comparative analysis on (meta)cognitive biases among children, adolescents and adults was provided, as well as an analysis of the relation between age and thought fusion. It was found that age-related differences do play a role in the activation of specific (meta)cognitive biases and influence the onset of specific subtypes of OCD. Also, thought fusion was found to be one of the driving factors of other (meta)cognitive biases in children, adolescents, and adults with OCD.
obsessive-compulsive disorder , cognitive biases , pediatric OCD , cognitive development , magical thinking , thought-action fusion
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess