Anxiety disorders – OCD

  • Created by: blessed
  • Created on: 23-06-11 18:28

Anxiety disorders – OCD

1.     Outline and evaluate the clinical characteristics of OCD (9marks and 16 marks):

For the outline, you should give a definition of obsessions and compulsions, list the symptoms of OCD and mention the diagnostic manuals used and the Y-BOCS scale.

For the evaluation you should refer to issues of reliability and validity. First define the terms and their types and then use studies to support them.  Comment on the cultural bias in diagnosing OCD.

2.     Discuss two or more biological explanations of OCD (9marks and 16 marks):

For the outline, explain the genetic factors that lead to neuroanatomical abnormalities of the brain – the COMT gene (Karayiorgou et al.) and how it affects brain functioning ( OFC and serotonin/dopamine).  Also, what the family and twins studies have showed us.  The other explanation is provided by the evolutionary approach that explains OCD as adaptive – give examples.

For the evaluation, give support evidence for the COMT gene, neuroanatomical explanations (PET scans, Menzies et al. MRI scans), biochemical explanations (Kim et al.), concordance rate to show genetic basis.  Include link with Tourette’s syndrome and ethical issues arising from the screening of eggs for OCD and the reductionist nature of the approach.

3.     Discuss two or more psychological explanations of OCD (9marks and 16 marks):

For the outline, explain two (depth) or all three (breadth) psychological explanations. For the psychodynamic (Freud), include the defence mechanisms relevant to OCD, for the behavioural (Mowrer) the two steps in the acquisition of obsessions – the classical conditioning (association) and the operant conditioning (negative reinforcement) and the learning of the compulsions.  For the cognitive the importance of the intrusive thoughts and how anxiety is neutralised by compulsive thoughts.

For the evaluation, provide supporting evidence, case studies (Rat man) and criticisms (Salzman) for the psychodynamic, for the behavioural Tracy, Rachman & Hodgson and links with the


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