British Journal of Clinical Psychology

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Volume 45 Issue 3 (September 2006), Pages 279-438

Obsessive‐compulsive beliefs and magical ideation in eating disorders (pages 331-342)

Objectives. Similarities in patterns of cognition and behaviour between patients with eating disorders and those with obsessive‐compulsive disorder (OCD) have long been recognized, and comorbidity between these disorders has been shown to be high. However, there has been little investigation of the cognitive content shared between eating disorders and OCD. It has been suggested that a cognitive analysis of the overlap between the disorders may help to increase understanding of each, and have potentially useful clinical implications. The present study aimed to investigate the presence of obsessive‐compulsive beliefs and magical ideation (MI) in a group of eating‐disordered participants.

Method. One hundred seventy‐seven volunteers with a history of or current eating disorder completed the Obsessive Beliefs Questionnaire (OBQ), the Interpretation of Intrusions Inventory (III) and the Magical ideation scale (MIS).

Results. Eating‐disordered participants demonstrated levels of the beliefs measured comparable to or higher than those with OCD.

Conclusions. The results supported the hypothesis that the belief domains investigated are relevant to eating‐disordered individuals. This has interesting theoretical and clinical implications. Further research will be required to elucidate the role of these types of cognitions in the relationship between eating disorders and OCD, and to clarify their role in the psychopathology of eating disorders.

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