Symmetry dimension in obsessive–compulsive disorder: Prevalence, severity and clinical correlates

Aline P. Vellozo, Leonardo F. Fontenelle, Ricardo C. Torresan, Roseli G. Shavitt, Ygor A. Ferrão, Maria C. Rosário, Euripedes C. Miguel, Albina R. Torres

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Background: Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is a very heterogeneous condition that frequently includes symptoms of the “symmetry dimension” (i.e., obsessions and/or compulsions of symmetry, ordering, repetition, and counting), along with aggressive, sexual/religious, contamination/cleaning, and hoarding dimensions. Methods: This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the prevalence, severity, and demographic and clinical correlates of the symmetry dimension among 1001 outpatients from the Brazilian Research Consortium on Obsessive–Compulsive Spectrum Disorders. The main assessment instruments used were the Dimensional Yale–Brown Obsessive–Compulsive Scale, the Yale–Brown Obsessive–Compulsive Scale, the USP-Sensory Phenomena Scale, the Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventories, the Brown Assessment of Beliefs Scale, and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders. Chi-square tests, Fisher’s exact tests, Student’s t-tests, and Mann–Whitney tests were used in the bivariate analyses to compare patients with and without symptoms of the symmetry dimension. Odds ratios (ORs) with confidence intervals and Cohen’s D were also calculated as effect size measures. Finally, a logistic regression was performed to control for confounders. Results: The symmetry dimension was highly prevalent (86.8%) in this large clinical sample and, in the logistic regression, it remained associated with earlier onset of obsessive–compulsive symptoms, insidious onset of compulsions, more severe depressive symptoms, and presence of sensory phenomena. Conclusions: A deeper knowledge about specific OCD dimensions is essential for a better understanding and management of this complex and multifaceted disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Article number274
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2021


  • Clinical features
  • Obsessive–compulsive disorder
  • Phenomenology
  • Symmetry dimension
  • Symptom dimensions

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