OCD – Factors that contribute to the development of OCD Part 3/6

Factors that contribute to the development of OCD

OCD is a complex neurobiological disorder. There are various factors thought to influence the development of OCD. It is most likely an interaction between biological, psychological and social factors. Some of the factors thought to contribute to the development of OCD are:

  • A genetic predisposition
  • Ineffective functioning in the frontal cortex area of the brain
  • Serotonin imbalances
  • Intrapsychic conflict – conflict occurring within the mind
  • Ambivalent sense of self – difficulty managing contradictory aspects of the self
  • Personality characteristics – see next section
  • Cognitive distortions/information processing errors – such as black and white thinking, perceiving things as more negative or less positive than they are, only paying attention to information that confirms a negative view, making guesses about the future and negative events, believing you know other people’s intentions
  • Traumatic events in early childhood
  • Stressful life events – such as the death of someone close, divorce, moving house, pregnancy etc.

Personality characteristics and thinking patterns commonly seen in people with OCD include;

  • Perfectionism/criticalness – belief towards themselves and other that mistakes are unacceptable and perfection is desirable
  • Excessive conscientiousness
  • Strong need for control and autonomy
  • Overemphasis of intellectual processes – thinking that the presence of a thought increases the likelihood that an event will happen
  • Rigidity
  • Inflated sense of responsibility and guilt – a belief that a person has the ability to cause or prevent negative outcomes
  • Intolerance of uncertainty – believing that it is possible and necessary to be certain that undesired events do not happen
  • Overestimation of danger – thinking danger is more likely to happen than it is

Sherry-Lee Smith Perth Psychologist Home Page