Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences

Thought Characteristics in Patients With Severe Health Anxiety: A Comparison With Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder and Healthy Controls

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Previous studies on health anxiety have primarily focused on general aspects of thought characteristics proposed to be central to the disorder, whereas the importance of disorderspecific thought content is often stressed in the literature. The present study examines general as well as disorder-specific aspects of several thought characteristics in 32 patients with severe health anxiety, a clinical control group of 33 patients with obsessive– compulsive disorder, and 32 healthy control participants. Both patient groups reported more general rumination, intolerance of uncertainty, thought suppression, and healthrelated involuntary autobiographical memories and future thoughts than the healthy control participants. Patients with severe health anxiety reported more health-related rumination and health-related intolerance of uncertainty than general rumination and general intolerance of uncertainty, whereas the other groups showed the opposite pattern. The findings lend support to the view that health-related rumination and health-related intolerance of uncertainty play a central role in the disorder. The findings highlight the importance of considering disorder-specific content when examining thought characteristics in clinical disorders.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice
Pages (from-to)76-87
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

    Research areas

  • Intolerance of uncertainty, Involuntary memory, Obsessive–compulsive disorder, Rumination, Severe health anxiety

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