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J Anxiety Disord. 2009 Apr;23(3):401-6. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2008.11.001. Epub 2008 Nov 18.

OCD cognitions and symptoms in different religious contexts.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Uludag University, Bursa, Turkey.


Religious themes commonly feature in obsessions. Some theorists view religiosity as a potential risk factor, due to the hypothesized influence of religious acculturation on appraisals of unwanted intrusive thoughts. Several studies revealed that the relationship between religiosity and some OCD cognitions might change among various religions, possibly because of the differences in religious doctrines and teachings. The present study examined the relationship between religiosity and OCD symptoms and cognitions in different religious contexts. In this study, Muslim and Christian subjects from Turkey and Canada, respectively, were compared on OCD features by taking their level of religiosity into consideration. The results showed that having scored higher in OCD symptoms, Muslim participants reported more concerns on their thoughts and controlling them, and they also seemed to use worry strategy to manage their unwanted thoughts. On the other hand, regardless of religion category, high religious subjects reported to experience more obsessional thoughts and checking, while sensitivity on thoughts and emphases on control of thoughts and psychological fusion in morality were more salient for this group. Indeed, degree of religiosity also made a significant difference on thought-action fusion in morality domain especially for Christian subjects. In line with previous findings, the results of the present study support the association between religiosity and OCD even across two monotheistic religions. Besides, the characteristics of the religion might account for the differences in OCD cognitions and symptoms across both religions.

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