The moderating effect of age on the associations of cognitive and metacognitive beliefs with pediatric OCD symptoms

Myles Rizvi, Hannah Smilansky, Rachel Porth, Nicholas Myers, Daniel Geller, Brent J. Small, Joseph F. McGuire, Sabine Wilhelm, Eric A. Storch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although considerable research has highlighted the importance of cognitive and metacognitive beliefs in adult obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), there has been limited investigation of these beliefs in pediatric OCD. The present study investigated the clinical correlates of cognitive and metacognitive beliefs in pediatric OCD. Previous studies found positive relations between OCD symptoms and these beliefs in pediatric patients, and we hypothesized these beliefs would also be positively related to pediatric OCD symptom severity. We additionally hypothesized age would moderate these relationships in consideration of previous studies highlighting age differences in symptom presentation and self-reported beliefs. We also explored age differences in belief endorsements. Youth aged 7–17 (n = 142) diagnosed with OCD completed self-report scales to measure cognitive and meta-cognitive beliefs. OCD severity was assessed using self-report and clinician-rated measures. Pearson correlations, moderation analyses, and independent-samples t-tests were used to test our hypotheses and aims. Significant positive relationships were observed between cognitive and metacognitive beliefs and self-reported OCD severity, although age did not moderate these relationships. Age differences were found in belief endorsements. In conclusion, cognitive and metacognitive beliefs appear clinically relevant to pediatric OCD cases, and we recommend clinicians assess these beliefs and incorporate cognitive components to corresponding evidence-based treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-120
Number of pages17
JournalCognitive Behaviour Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021


  • Cognitive beliefs
  • age
  • disorder
  • metacognitive beliefs
  • moderation
  • pediatric obsessive-compulsive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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