A cross-cultural investigation of obsessive compulsive disorder symptomatology: the role of religiosity and religious affiliation

Altın, Müjgan
The main aim of the present study was to better understand the influence of nationality/religious affiliation and degree of religious devoutness on OCD symptoms, more specifically scrupulosity symptoms and beliefs by comparing the Turkish Muslim students with the Canadian Christians who show different degrees of religiosity. To clarify the effect of religiosity on OCD symptomatology, Bible school and Divinity school students were included in the present study as an extreme religious group. Furthermore, the present study was aimed to examine the cross-cultural differences in the prevalence, content, appraisal and control of intrusions, using a structured interview methodology. Religiosity, guilt and scrupulosity scales and interview schedule were adapted into Turkish. The analyses revealed that the psychometric properties of the adapted measurements were satisfactory. Then, the effect of religiosity and religious affiliation on the experience of OCD symptoms, scrupulosity, and OCD relevant beliefs were examined via univariate and multivariate analyses. Results revealed that the effect of religiosity and nationality were significant for general distress. Results also revealed that regardless of nationality, high religious individuals reported higher degree of OCD and scrupulosity symptoms, and dysfunctional obsessive beliefs than low religious ones. The effect of religiosity on OCD and scrupulosity symptoms differed by religious affiliation. High religious Muslim students reported higher degree of compulsions, and fear of God symptoms than high religious Christians. Furthermore, religiosity and nationality affected obsessive beliefs differently. Turkish students reported higher level of perfectionism and intolerance for uncertainty in comparison with Canadian students. These results were supported by subsequent regression analyses. Furthermore, interview data showed that except for the frequency of the intrusions, the content of the intrusions was almost universal, and frequency and distress as a response to intrusions is very low in the normal population. Nationality and degree of religiosity revealed some minor differences in primary and secondary appraisals, and control strategies. These factors were specifically significant for religious and sexual intrusions. Results suggested that the religious affiliation and degree of religiosity may provide content for intrusions, rather being a causal factor. Keywords: Intrusive thoughts, Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms, Faulty belief domains and appraisal, Religiosity and Religious Affiliation.


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Citation Formats
M. Altın, “A cross-cultural investigation of obsessive compulsive disorder symptomatology: the role of religiosity and religious affiliation,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2009.