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Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Aug 15;35(7):1677-81. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2011.05.012. Epub 2011 May 27.

Dimensional correlates of poor insight in obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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Department of Psychology, University of Heidelberg, Germany.



Cross-sectional studies have associated poor insight in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) with increased OCD symptom severity, earlier age of onset, comorbid depression, and treatment response. The goal of this current study was to examine the relationship between dimensions of OCD symptomatology and insight in a large clinical cohort of Brazilian patients with OCD. We hypothesized that poor insight would be associated with total symptom severity as well as with hoarding symptoms severity, specifically.


824 outpatients underwent a detailed clinical assessment for OCD, including the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS), the Dimensional Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (DY-BOCS), the Brown Assessment of Beliefs Scale (BABS), a socio-demographic questionnaire, and the Structured Clinical Interview for axis I DSM-IV disorders (SCID-P). Tobit regression models were used to examine the association between level of insight and clinical variables of interest.


Increased severity of current and worst-ever hoarding symptoms and higher rate of unemployment were associated with poor insight in OCD after controlling for current OCD severity, age and gender. Poor insight was also correlated with increased severity of current OCD symptoms.


Hoarding and overall OCD severity were significantly but weakly associated with level of insight in OCD patients. Further studies should examine insight as a moderator and mediator of treatment response in OCD in both behavioral therapy and pharmacological trials. Behavioral techniques aimed at enhancing insight may be potentially beneficial in OCD, especially among patients with hoarding.

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