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Characteristics of illness intrusions in a non-clinical sample

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mark FreestonORCiD


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This study examines whether illness intrusions can be distinguished from obsessional intrusions and worries. It also assesses the relationship between strategies, thought characteristics, and appraisal of illness intrusions. Two hundred and forty-three non-clinical participants identified an obsessive intrusive thought, a worry, and an illness intrusion. They evaluated each thought using items from the Cognitive Intrusions Questionnaire. The comparisons of intrusions showed that illness intrusions share characteristics of worries and obsessional intrusions, but also have their own characteristics. Illness intrusions seem to be particularly egosyntonic. The relationships between the strategies used to counter illness intrusions and their appraisal were also tested. Results support the idea that there are specific links between the evaluation of cognitive intrusions and the way they are processed. It demonstrated that escape/avoidance strategies are associated with the egodystonic nature of the thought and that problem-focused strategies are associated with the thought's basis in reality. Illness intrusions may be conceptualised as either obsessions or worries. This study demonstrated that the category of an intrusive thought might not be as important as the way it is processed. It seems more important to consider appraisal of the disturbing thought and the way in which the person subsequently reacts and behaves. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Langlois F, Ladouceur R, Patrick G, Freeston MH

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Behaviour Research and Therapy

Year: 2004

Volume: 42

Issue: 6

Pages: 683-696

ISSN (print): 0005-7967

ISSN (electronic): 1873-622X

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/S0005-7967(03)00191-8

PubMed id: 15081884


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