The present study included 167 participants (mean age = 19.9; SD = 5.2; range = 17-57 years) with 27 males (mean age = 19.1; SD = 1.74) and 139 females (mean age = 20.00; SD = 5.62). For the majority of participants (77%), English was the language spoken at home. The majority of participants were born in Australia (60.8%), followed by Asia (31.3%), Europe (3.0%) and other (4.9%). Participants were first year undergraduate psychology students recruited via the University of Melbourne Psychology Department.
The World Assumption Scale (WAS; Janoff-Bulman, 1991) is a 36 item self-report measure of vulnerability-related beliefs about the benevolence and meaningfulness of the world and about self-worthiness. The WAS consists of 7 sub-scales: the benevolence of the world1 scale including items relating to benevolence of people and the benevolence of the impersonal world (BW; "good things in the world outnumber the bad" and "people are naturally unfriendly and unkind"), the justice scale with items relating to the extent of "fairness" in the world (J; "misfortune is least likely to strike worth, decent people"), the controllability scale with items relating to the degree our peoples' actions determine consequences in the world (C; "through our action we can prevent bad things from happening to us"), the randomness scale with items relating to the degree of random occurrences in the world (R; "bad events are distributed to people at random"), self-deservingness scale with items relating to one's perceptions of their own personal character (SD; "I have reason to be ashamed of my personal character"), the self-controllability scale with items relating to individuals' perceptions of their own activeness in the prevention of harm (SC; "I take the actions necessary to protect myself against misfortune") and finally the luck scale with items pertaining to the one's own perceptions of how lucky they are (SL; "I am luckier than most people"). Statements are rated on a 6-point scale, where 1=strongly agree and 6=strongly disagree. Factor analysis of the items supported the independence of the seven original sub-scales (Janoff-Bulman, 1989, 1991). In our sample, all subscales except randomness (â•¬â–’ =.63) showed acceptable Cronbach's Alpha ranging from 0.70-0.84 (see table 1).
The Padua Inventory-Revised (PI-R; Burns, Keortge, Formea, & Sternberger, 1996) is a 39-item inventory measuring the degree of disturbance caused by a range of intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors, on a 5 point scale (0 = not at all to 4 = very much). The items in the PI-R are a subset of 60 items from the Paudua Inventory (Sanavio, 1988), resulting in increased independence to measures of worry and anxiety, adequate internal consistency (â•¬â–’ = .92) and test-retest reliability (r = .76; Burns et al., 1996). The PI-R consists of five subscales assessing distress associated with obsessive and compulsive symptoms: (a) thoughts of harm to self or others; (b) impulses of harm to self or others; (c) contamination and washing; (d) checking; and (e) dressing rituals. The PI-R is the most widely used self-report measure of OCD related distress and symptom severity. The use of this measure will allow comparisons of the results of this study with the wide pool of existing OCD literature (e.g., OCCWG, 2003, 2005).
The Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II; Beck, Steer & Brown, 1996) is a 21 item self-rated measure of depressive symptoms. Responses are made by choosing one of 4 statements, which best describes one's feelings over the past 2 weeks. The BDI-II has been extensively supported as a reliable and well-validated measure of depressive and dysphoric symptoms (Beck et al., 1996).
The revised Obsessional Beliefs Questionnaire (OBQ, OCCWG, 2005) is a self-report measure of pan-situational cognitions associated with OCD developed by the OCCWG (OCCWG, 2003, 2005). It has recently been reduced from an 87-item version (OCCWG, 2003) to a 44 item version, based on extensive empirical research (OCCWG, 2005; Taylor, Kyrios, Thordarson, Steketee, & Frost, 2002). The revised instrument loads on three domains:(1) Threat/Responsibility for harm; (2) Perfectionism/Need for Certainty; and (3) Importance/Control of Thoughts. Items are rated on an 8 point scale (0 = "disagree very much" to 7 = "agree very much"). The scales have been found to be unrelated to gender, and the first and third scales differentiate OCD patients from other anxiety disorder controls (OCCWG, 2005). This scale demonstrated reasonable internal consistency, good convergent validity, modest divergent validity, and moderate-to-high test-retest correlations.
The student participants completed the questionnaire in a classroom within the department. Students were allotted credit for their participation through the research participation program in Melbourne University Psychology Department.