Thought control strategies used by parents reporting postpartum obsessions

Karin E. Larsen, Stefanie A. Schwartz, Stephen P. Whiteside, Maheruh Khandker, Katherine M. Moore, Jonathan S. Abramowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Previous research has established that parents commonly experience intrusive harm-related thoughts pertaining to their infants (e.g., "My baby might die from SIDS"). Cognitive-behavioral models of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) posit that maladaptive strategies for managing such thoughts play a role in the development and maintenance of obsessional problems. In the present study, we examined (1) the strategies parents used to manage unwanted infant-related thoughts and (2) the relationships between thought control strategies and obsessional and depressive symptoms. Non-treatment-seeking parents (n = 75) of healthy newborns completed measures of intrusive thoughts, thought control strategies, and obsessional and depressive symptoms. Mothers and fathers did not differ in their use of various thought control strategies. Strategies involving distraction, self-punishment, and reappraisal of the intrusive thought were positively related to the severity of obsessional symptoms. Punishment was also positively associated with depressive symptoms. Results are discussed in terms cognitive-behavioral models of OCD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-445
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006


  • Cognitive-behavioral theory
  • Depression
  • Obsessions
  • Postpartum
  • Postpartum depression
  • Thought control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Thought control strategies used by parents reporting postpartum obsessions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this