AP Psychology : Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

Which of the following is not a common symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)?

Possible Answers:

Intense stress when objects are not in order

Avoidance of situations that may trigger obsessions

Compulsions to reduce anxiety

Anxiety stemming from a traumatic injury

A fear of contamination

Correct answer:

Anxiety stemming from a traumatic injury

Explanation:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a psychiatric illness characterized by excessive thoughts (obsessions) that lead to repetitive, maladaptive behaviors (compulsions). Common obsessions include a fear of contamination and/or a need to keep things orderly. Common compulsions include obsessive handwashing and counting in certain patterns.

OCD does not arise from a traumatic injury; it results from a combination of psychological and biological factors.

Example Question #2 : Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

When John leaves his house in morning, he always has to check multiple times to make sure that he has locked his front door. If John tries to leave his house without checking his door, or after only checking it once, he is filled with such anxiety and dread that he must abandon whatever else he is doing to return home and check his front door again. John is most likely struggling with a(n) __________.

Possible Answers:

obsession

ethical dilemma

stigma

mania

compulsion

Correct answer:

compulsion

Explanation:

A compulsion is a behavior that one feels driven to perform repeatedly, aiming to reduce stress or prevent the occurrence of something horrible. These compulsive behaviors are quite often linked to obsessive thoughts in cases of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Example Question #3 : Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

Joanna feels that she needs to run up and down the stairs exactly 12 times before she leaves for school or else someone she loves will get hurt. What is the name for this type of intrusive, irrational thought?

Possible Answers:

a compulsion

a heritability

an obsession 

a disturbance

a fear

Correct answer:

an obsession 

Explanation:

The two parts of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are the obsessions and the compulsions. Obsessions are the irrational, intrusive thoughts that distress the person with OCD, and compulsions are the actions that the person takes to try to alleviate the distress of the obsession. In Joanna's case, the fear of someone getting hurt is the obsession and the running up and down the stairs is the compulsion.

Example Question #4 : Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

What is OCD?

Possible Answers:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Obtuse-carotene disorder

Organized-compulsive disorder

Obsessive-chaotic disorder

Other non-categorized disorder

Correct answer:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Explanation:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by obsessions (intrusive thououghts) and compulsions (intense needs to fulfill specific actions). A common obession is cleanliness, which can lend itself to compulsive hand washing or scrubbing.

Example Question #5 : Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

Which of the following is the best example of a compulsion?

Possible Answers:

Excessive handwashing

Refusing to eat

Difficulty counting

Intrusive preoccupation over one's appearance

Fear of stealing things

Correct answer:

Excessive handwashing

Explanation:

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that are undertaken to reduce anxiety. Some of the most common compulsions in those with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) are counting, handwashing, collecting, and organizing at a clinically problematic level. 

Example Question #6 : Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

Which of the following is not true of obsessions, as listed in the DSM definition of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Possible Answers:

Persistent and recurring

Used to reduce distress or prevent disasters

All of these are true of obsessions

Can take form of thoughts or mental images

OCD patient recognizes that obsessions are products of his/her own mind

Correct answer:

Used to reduce distress or prevent disasters

Explanation:

Unlike compulsions, which are behaviors that OCD patients feel they must do to prevent disaster or just to reduce their distress, obsessions are unwelcome, unhelpful thoughts that OCD patients actively attempt to ignore or suppress.

Example Question #7 : Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

Samantha must check that her keys are in her purse upon leaving the house exactly seven times. Samantha would most likely be diagnosed with __________.

Possible Answers:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Agoraphobia

Schizophrenia

A phobia 

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder 

Correct answer:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Explanation:

Given that Samantha must check for her keys a certain number of times until she is appeased, this begins to resemble ritualistic repetitive behavior. Repetitive ritualistic behavior is characteristic of obsessive-compulsive disorder. While checking for keys may be a part of everyday life, feeling the need to check for keys a specific and excessive number of times is not. 

Example Question #8 : Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

A patient has obsessive-compulsive disorder, and each morning and night she must spend 45 minutes writing words of praise in her journal so that her mother does not fall ill. The patient has been going to treatment for several years to deal with the issue.

Identify the obsession and the compulsion in this scenario.

Possible Answers:

Obsession: the writing ritual . . . Compulsion: her mother's health

Obsession: the writing ritual . . . Compulsion: going to treatment

Obsession: her mother's health . . . Compulsion: the writing ritual

Obsession: constant cleanliness . . . Compulsion: tidiness despite the room being clean

Correct answer:

Obsession: her mother's health . . . Compulsion: the writing ritual

Explanation:

Obsessions are recurring intrusive thoughts or worries that are characterized by the extreme difficulty patients have suppressing them. The obsession here is the patient's concern with her mother's health. Compulsions are repeated behaviors that a person feels compelled to perform in relation to a given obsession. In this case, the need to write in a ritualistic fashion as as to prevent a realization of the obsessive fear is the compulsive act.

Example Question #9 : Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

Which of the following is not a common compulsion associated with OCD?

Possible Answers:

Excessive hand washing

Excessively checking to make sure a loved one is still breathing

Excessively arranging items in a particular order

Excessively having flash backs to a past event

Excessively checking to make sure the oven is turned off

Correct answer:

Excessively having flash backs to a past event

Explanation:

OCD is a disorder characterized by obsessions (intrusive, distressing thoughts) and compulsions (actions taken to try to "fix" the intrusive thought). Common compulsions include excessive washing, turning items off, checking on loved ones, and arranging items. Flashbacks are a symptom of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and are not associated with OCD.

Example Question #10 : Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

Which of the following is NOT an example of a compulsion someone may have with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Possible Answers:

Excessive hand-washing after touch anything from outside the home

Check to see if burner off every time walk into kitchen

Unlock and relock the door multiple times when leaving home 

Cleaning glasses every few minutes to make sure stay clean

All of these are common compulsions associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Correct answer:

All of these are common compulsions associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Explanation:

All of the answers are examples of compulsive behaviors that result from anxiety, such as being "dirty" or leaving the door unlocked.

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