Neither saints nor wolves in disguise: ambivalent interpersonal attitudes and behaviors in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Behav Modif. 2009 Mar;33(2):274-92. doi: 10.1177/0145445508327444. Epub 2008 Dec 1.


Inflated responsibility is ascribed a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The aim of the study was to assess interpersonal attitudes and behaviors contributing to enhanced responsibility in OCD. In particular, we tested the hypothesis that individuals diagnosed with OCD share stronger latent aggression toward others, resulting in a high degree of interpersonal ambivalence. A total of 176 participants with OCD, 42 participants with anxiety or depression as well as 42 healthy controls completed the Responsibility and Interpersonal Behaviors and Attitudes Questionnaire (RIBAQ). The factor analysis confirmed three factors: (1) inflated worry/responsibility, (2) latent aggression/calculating behavior and (3) suspiciousness/distrust. Whereas the psychiatric group displayed enhanced scores relative to healthy participants regarding responsibility and suspiciousness, OCD patients achieved significantly higher scores on the latent aggression dimension relative to both control groups. Results are consistent with the notion that participants with OCD show both inflated levels of (authentic) responsibility and latent aggression.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aggression*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Attitude
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Observer Variation
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology*
  • Personality Inventory
  • Social Responsibility*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires