Responsibility, metacognition and unrealistic pessimism in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Helen Niemeyer*, Steffen Moritz, Reinhard Pietrowsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


Cognitive models stress the importance of cognitive belief domains (CBD) for the pathogenesis of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, the relative contribution of responsibility and metacognition - core aspects of CBD - to OC symptoms is not fully understood yet. Furthermore, two subcomponents of overestimation of threat (OET), overestimation of the personal probability (unrealistic pessimism) and overestimation of the general risk of negative events, require clarification. First, we investigated the relative contribution of responsibility and metacognition to OC symptoms. Second, we hypothesized that OCD patients overestimate the personal risk and display unrealistic pessimism. Thirty-four OCD patients and 34 healthy controls completed the Obsessive Beliefs Questionnaire (OBQ) and the Unrealistic Optimism Questionnaire (UO). Responsibility significantly predicted obsessive symptoms after controlling for metacognition. In contrast to previous findings, responsibility is not fully explained by metacognition. Finally, our results confirm unrealistic pessimism in OCD, even after controlling for depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-129
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes



  • Metacognition
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Overestimation of threat
  • Responsibility
  • Unrealistic optimism

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