Apr 23, 2011

Functions of compulsions in obsessive-compulsive disorder

The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Vladan StarcevicAnthony Hannan


The key function of compulsions in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is to alleviate anxiety or distress caused by the obsessions, but compulsions may also have other functions. The main aim of this study was to systematically ascertain what motivates individuals with OCD to perform compulsions. A total of 108 adults with OCD were assessed with the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) and the Functions of Compulsions Interview. The latter instrument elicits the functions of identified compulsions. The functions of 218 compulsions were identified. The mean number of functions per compulsion in the whole sample was 2.94 and the vast majority of compulsions (85.3%) were performed for more than one reason. The total number of functions of compulsions endorsed for the three main compulsions correlated with Y-BOCS total scores (r = 0.37, p < 0.001). Compulsions were most frequently performed automatically and to decrease distress or anxiety, but there was substantial variation, depending on the type of compulsion. Hoarding was often performed for reasons not related to any other compulsion (involving a perceived need for collected objects), whereas ordering/symmetry/repeating compulsions were frequently performed to achie...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Interview, Psychological
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Behavior
Anxiety Disorders
Factor Construct Rating Scales (Fcrs)

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