Correlates of insight into different symptom dimensions in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Júlia M. Fontenelle, Ben J. Harrison, Lívia Santana, Maria Conceição Do Rosário, Marcio Versiani, Leonardo F. Fontenelle

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Background: In this study, we evaluated insight into different obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptom dimensions and their impact on clinical and sociodemographic features of patients with OCD. Methods: Sixty OCD patients were assessed with the Brown Assessment of Beliefs Scale (BABS), the Dimensional Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale-Short Version, the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Sheehan Disability Scale. Two methods of using BABS were employed: 1) a traditional approach, which considers a composite of the insight into existing OCD symptoms, and 2) an alternative approach, which includes assessments of insight into each OCD symptom dimension separately. Results: Composite BABS scores correlated with global severity of OCD and depressive symptoms, and degree of interference on social life/leisure activities and family life/home responsibilities. Dimension-specific correlations between severity of symptoms and insight ranged from very high (P = .87, for hoarding) to moderate (P = .61, for miscellaneous symptoms). Greater severity of depression and concomitant generalized anxiety disorder were independently associated with lower levels of insight into aggressive/checking symptoms. While earlier-onset OCD was associated with lower insight into sexual/religious and symmetry symptoms, later-onset OCD displayed lower insight into hoarding. Conclusions: Assessing insight into dimension-specific OCD symptoms may challenge the existence of clear-cut OCD with fair or poor insight.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-16
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Clinical Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Awareness
  • Hoarding
  • Obsessions
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Psychopathology

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