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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Psychology

First Advisor

Christian DeLucia

Second Advisor

Jedidiah Siev

Third Advisor

Steven Gold


behavioral approach, contamination, exposure, OCD, self-efficacy


Self-Efficacy (SE) has been explored extensively within the field of psychology. Despite a rich literature demonstrating its positive effect on various behavioral outcomes, including psychological treatment outcomes, little is known about the impact of SE on outcomes related to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). To fill this critical gap in the literature, the aim of the present study was to determine whether increasing SE may improve engagement in exposure-based interventions for contamination fears. Nonclinical participants (N = 120) were randomly assigned to complete a contamination-related behavioral approach task (CR-BAT) immediately following either a SE-boosting exercise or a non-SE related control. Results demonstrated that there were no differences between conditions in contamination-related SE or approach behavior during the CRBAT, indicating that the manipulation was ineffective in boosting SE. Interestingly, however, participants in the SE-boosting condition reported lower levels of anxiety during certain phases of the CR-BAT than did those in the control condition, suggesting that the manipulation was effective in reducing subjective distress. Furthermore, SE was positively correlated with approach behavior during the CR-BAT, thus corroborating past research linking SE to behavioral outcomes. Future research, using more effective methods to manipulate SE, is required to examine the causality of this relationship.

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