Date of Award

Fall 12-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Health Psychology

Committee Director

James M. Henson

Committee Member

Abby L. Braitman

Committee Member

Bryan E. Porter


Alcohol misuse, which is a prevalent issue among college students, often coincides with psychiatric disorders or symptoms. Treatment of one facilitates treatment of the other. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or just obsessive-compulsive symptoms, is connected to alcohol misuse.

This study adapts part of the cognitive control model of OCD, which states that intrusive thoughts will only lead to distress if the individual interprets them in a dysfunctional manner and tries to control them. When the thought control attempt fails, if the individual interprets the failure in a dysfunctional way as well, they will become distressed. If they are distressed, they will then use alcohol in an attempt to relieve their negative emotions. This research examines if there is a moderating relationship between intrusive thoughts, maladaptive responses to thoughts, and alcohol misuse. Furthermore, this research examines if obsessive beliefs moderate the moderation between intrusive thoughts, maladaptive responses, and alcohol misuse.

Participants (N = 186) identified mainly as women (73.7% women, 24.7% men, 1.1% gender queer/non-conforming, 1.1% nonbinary) and had a mean age of 23.92 (SD = 6.78, Mdn = 21.00). Participants completed measures assessing alcohol misuse, intrusive thoughts, obsessive thoughts, and thought control strategies.

Using a simple moderation model and a moderated moderation model in the SPSS macro PROCESS V4.1, support was not found for any of the hypotheses. Maladaptive thought control strategies did not have a moderating effect on the relationship between intrusive thoughts and alcohol misuse. Obsessive thoughts did not moderation the moderation between maladaptive thought control strategies, intrusive thoughts, and alcohol misuse. However, worry thought control strategies were shown to have a strong effect on alcohol misuse when intrusive thoughts and different types of obsessive beliefs were held average. In addition, the belief in the importance of thoughts and the need to control them had a significant effect on alcohol misuse when punishment thought control strategies and intrusive thoughts were held at the average. The results suggest that intrusive thoughts are not related to alcohol misuse. However, worry thought control strategies and the importance of/need to control thoughts are related to alcohol misuse.


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