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date: 06 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The current chapter provides an overview of psychoanalytic and behavioral theories of obsessive compulsive disorder and related conditions (i.e., hoarding, hypochondriasis, body dysmorphic disorder, trichotillomania, and tic disorders), and reviews the empirical support for these psychological theories. While Freud correctly ascribed compulsive rituals to an anxiety-reducing role, the more fundamental tenets of his drive model of obsessional development, and the subsequent focus on the role of defense mechanisms, have remained largely untested. In contrast, behavioral theories of obsessive compulsive and spectrum disorders revolutionized the psychological conceptualization and treatment of these disorders, and there is strong evidence accumulated over the past 40 years demonstrating the seminal role of operant conditioning processes in the maintenance of obsessive compulsive and related spectrum disorders. The evidence supporting the role of classical conditioning in symptom development is less clear; however, learning theory has contributed a partial understanding of the etiology of these conditions.

Keywords: obsessive compulsive disorder, hoarding, hypochondriasis, body dysmorphic disorder, trichotillomania, tic disorders, psychological, behavioral, psychoanalytic, conditioning, vulnerability.

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