PP OCD Critical Analysis

  • Created by: Psych951
  • Created on: 06-05-19 16:21

PP OCD Critical Analysis


  • Behavioural theory is particularly useful for understanding role of compulsions
  • Cognitive theories are supported by manipulating variables with healthy controls, showing potential causal role and helps account for individual differences and specific features
  • Evidence for genetic and neural link
  • Presence of obsessions and compulsions are culturally-universal, suggesting theories have some relevance cross-culturally
  • Theories provide positive understanding of OCD experience which may help individuals feel comfortable in diagnosis
  • Behavioural and cognitive combined offers effective long-term treatment


  • Cognitive components are ignored by behavioural approach, despite likely impacting conditioning events
  • Behavioural provides poor explanation for distress level
  • Cognitive doesn't explain why individuals develop the biases
  • Biological account is oversimplified and not based on causal evidence
  • Obsessions and compulsions content are mediated by culture and so treatment may not be easily applied
  • Gender impacts course of development suggesting theories may be mediated by gender
  • Biological offers poor treatment application
  • Criticised for removal from anxiety disorders as not reflective of experience


Although gender and culture may impact the relevance of theories to explain OCD, generally the theories can account for each other's weaknesses. The cognitive and behavioural combined approach may be the best in terms of positive understanding and treatment. 


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