Body Dysmorphic, Obsessive-Compulsive, and Social Anxiety Disorder Beliefs as Predictors of In Vivo Stressor Responding

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This study tested the potential transdiagnostic nature of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and social anxiety disorder (SAD) beliefs, in addition to testing the specificity of those beliefs, in predicting how individuals responded to symptom-specific stressors. Participants included 127 adults (75% women) with a broad range of symptom severity. Path analysis was used to evaluate whether specific maladaptive beliefs predicted distress in response to symptom-relevant stressors over and above other beliefs and baseline distress. SAD beliefs emerged as a significant predictor of distress in response to a mirror gazing (BDD-relevant), a thought (OCD-relevant), and a public speaking (SAD-relevant) task, controlling for other disorder beliefs and baseline distress. BDD beliefs were also a robust predictor of BDD stressor responding. Results suggest that social anxiety-relevant beliefs may function as a transdiagnostic risk factor that predicts in vivo symptoms across a range of problem areas.

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