World Religions, Religiosity, and Obsessive-Compulsive Features: An Exploratory Study



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Religiosity has been frequently linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), as religious obsessions (also referred to as scrupulosity) are a common theme in this disorder (Abramowitz, Huppert, Cohen, et al., 2002). Thus far, research has yielded equivocal findings regarding the relationship between levels of religiosity and OCD (Raphael, Rani, & Drummond, 1996; Miovic, 2007). These mixed findings may be in part due to differences across religions and their impact on OCD. Moreover, most of this research has focused on western religions such as Christianity. This study addresses the need for OCD research in diverse religious contexts. Eight hundred and ninety eight undergraduate students (82.7% identifying as Christian, 10.7% as Muslim, and 6.6% as Buddhist) completed self-report versions of the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS), the Penn Inventory of Scrupulosity (PIOS), the Duke University Religion Index (DUREL) and the Vancouver Index of Acculturation (VIA). Results reveal that Muslims and Christians reported higher scrupulosity symptoms as compared to Buddhists despite no clear religious group differences in obsession or compulsion severity. Although certain dimensions of religiosity were associated with scrupulosity symptoms, which in turn generally corresponded to obsession and compulsion severity across groups, there was no clear relationship between religiosity and OC severity, with some group differences on these relationships. Implications and limitations of results are discussed.



Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), Religiosity, Scrupulosity, Religion