Sarah Bodhy, “The Role of Response Inhibition Deficits in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder”
Mentor: Han Joo Lee, Psychology
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a psychiatric disorder characterized by recurrent obsessions or compulsions that cause marked distress and interfere with daily functioning. Therefore, the inability to inhibit inappropriate thoughts or behaviors, known as response inhibition (RI), is the hallmark characteristic of OCD. Response inhibition can be inferred by studying performance in various cognitive tasks such as the stop-signal task, the go/no-go task, and the flanker task. Using these methods, studies have shown elevated RI deficits in OCD (Bannon et al., 2002). However, these findings are mixed in literature, as some studies have failed to find RI deficits in OCD patients (Krikorian et al., 2004). The lack of RI deficits could be due to the low symptom severity of participants in these studies. Thus, this study sought to examine whether RI deficits are associated with OCD symptoms within a clinical sample of patients with OCD who are receiving intensive treatment, such as in a partial hospitalization program (PHP). We recruited 88 patients with OCD who were treated in a PHP program in the Rogers Memorial Behavioral Health. Upon admission, treatment seeking individuals were assessed for OCD symptoms and other related symptoms using the Schizotypal Personality Scale (STA) and the Revised Obsessional Intrusion Inventory (ROII). Subjects also completed several computerized neurocognitive tests designed to measure RI. The current study sought to examine the association between the OCD symptom severity and RI deficits on these cognitive tasks in the current sample of severe OCD patients using the Pearson correlation and multiple regression analyses. A positive correlation between RI deficits and STA and ROII scores is expected. By contributing to the existing literature about the nature of RI deficits in OCD and how they are associated, these findings would improve our understanding of the psychopathology of OCD with respect to its underlying cognitive deficits.