Incompleteness, harm avoidance, and disgust: A comparison of youth with OCD, anxiety disorders, and no psychiatric disorder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Psychological models of pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) place a heavy emphasis on harm avoidance as a maintaining factor and target for treatment. Incompleteness and disgust may also play a role in pediatric OCD but remain under studied. Youth with OCD (n=100), anxiety disorders (n=96), and no psychiatric disorder (n=25) completed self-report measures of trait-level incompleteness, harm avoidance, and disgust and current symptoms of OCD, anxiety, and depression. Group differences and associations between emotions, symptoms, and pre- to post-treatment change in overall OCD severity were examined. Youth with OCD and anxiety disorders scored higher on harm avoidance and disgust than youth with no psychiatric disorder. Youth with OCD scored higher on incompleteness than youth with anxiety disorders and youth with no psychiatric disorder. Harm avoidance showed unique associations to self-reported symptoms of OCD, anxiety, and depression while incompleteness was uniquely related to OCD and disgust to anxiety. Within the OCD sample, incompleteness and harm avoidance were differentially related to the major OCD symptom dimensions, and change in incompleteness was uniquely related to pre- to post-treatment change in OCD severity. Trait-level incompleteness appears to play a central role in pediatric OCD and studies investigating its direct involvement in symptoms and associations with treatment outcome are needed. The role of disgust in relation to pediatric OCD remains unclear.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology
  • Psychiatry


  • OCD, Harm avoidance, Incompleteness, disgust, Childhood
Original languageEnglish
Article number102175
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 6
Publication categoryResearch

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Related activities

Perrin, S. (Joint first/primary/lead supervisor), Lindvall, M. (Joint first/primary/lead supervisor), Emma Claesdotter-Knutsson (Second supervisor)

Activity: Examination and supervisionSupervision of PhD students

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