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Psychiatry Res. 2008 Jan 15;157(1-3):159-68. Epub 2007 Sep 27.

Personality dimensions in obsessive-compulsive disorder: relation to clinical variables.

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  • 1Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Clinical and Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry, Hospital Universitario de Bellvitge, Barcelona, Spain.


Research on the relationship between personality factors and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has proved difficult to interpret due to conceptual problems including a lack of consensus on the model of personality employed as a framework as well as a failure to consider the clinical heterogeneity of the disorder. The aim of this study was to examine the dimensional personality profile associated with OCD and to determine whether any relationship exists between personality factors and clinical variables in a sample of 60 OCD outpatients who were administered Cloninger's Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI). The Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS), the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) and the Y-BOCS symptom checklist were used to assess the severity of obsessive-compulsive and depressive symptoms and the presence of the main OCD symptom dimensions. OCD patients showed significantly higher scores in harm avoidance and lower scores in novelty-seeking, self-directedness and cooperativeness than healthy subjects. These results remained unchanged when only pure OCD patients without comorbid psychiatric conditions were considered. Comorbid depressive symptoms and hoarding obsessions and compulsions were significantly associated with high harm avoidance scores. These results support the existence of a dimensional personality profile associated with OCD and characterized by high harm avoidance and low novelty-seeking, self-directedness and cooperativeness scores, but also emphasize the importance of considering the influence of comorbid clinical conditions or symptom subtypes in addressing the role of personality factors in OCD.

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