How Do I Say This? An Experimental Comparison of the Effects of Partner Feedback Styles on Reassurance Seeking Behaviour
Interventions for reassurance seeking (RS) in obsessive–compulsive disorder typically include reducing accommodation by asking partners to not provide reassurance, which may decrease RS but increase distress and be perceived as unhelpful. Alternatively, having partners provide support to encourage coping may be effective and associated with greater perceived helpfulness and lower negative affect. This experiment tested hypotheses that compared with no reassurance, supportive feedback would be associated with higher ratings of intervention helpfulness, fewer requests for reassurance, and lower ratings of RS urges and negative affect. Participants completed a threat-inducing kitchen task while observed by a partner, and afterwards sought reassurance to make a decision about safety. Partners’ feedback was manipulated such that half (n = 51) provided typical accommodation reduction-focused feedback and half (n = 51) provided support-focused feedback. Results suggest that individuals who received support-focused feedback versus accommodation reduction-focused feedback rated their partner’s feedback as significantly more helpful (d = 1.22). There was also a small-to-moderate effect size and trend suggesting that support was associated with less RS (d = 0.33). Overall, support provision may be associated with less RS behaviour and greater perceived helpfulness, and holds promise as an alternative intervention technique to strict accommodation reduction for problematic RS.
KeywordsReassurance seeking Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) Cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) Accommodation Feedback Support
The authors would like to thank Kristina Bucci, Sereena Pigeon, and Alex Varsaneux for their assistance with data collection.
This study was supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Operating Grant (MOP 102552) awarded to the second author.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
Rachael L. Neal and Adam S. Radomsky declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The present study was in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in this study.
Research Involving Animal Rights
This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
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