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Evaluation of an In Vivo Measure of Thought–Action Fusion

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Thought–action fusion (TAF) refers to maladaptive beliefs about the relationship between mental events and behaviors, and is associated with obsessional problems. Currently, the self-report Thought–Action Fusion Scale (TAFS) is the most widely used measure of TAF, but a single assessment modality limits research that can be conducted on this phenomenon. This study evaluated the validity of an in vivo paradigm that assesses both Moral TAF (the belief that thoughts are the moral equivalent of actions) and Likelihood TAF (the belief that thinking about a negative event increases the probability of the event itself). In this paradigm, participants were asked to contemplate two negative events involving a beloved relative: (a) I hope (relative) is in a car accident today and (b) I hope I have sex with (relative). Participants then provided in vivo ratings of anxiety, estimates of likelihood, and moral wrongness related to the negative thoughts. Results provided evidence for the convergent validity of the in vivo ratings for both sentences. These findings are discussed in terms of clinical care, the assessment of TAF, and the implications for future research on this theoretically important construct.
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Keywords: COGNITIVE BIAS; IN VIVO; OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER; THOUGHT–ACTION FUSION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 2011

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  • The Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy is no longer available to subscribers on Ingenta Connect. Please go to http://connect.springerpub.com/content/sgrjcp to access your online subscription to Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy.
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