The Role of Religiosity and Guilt in Symptomatology and Outcome of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Psychopharmacol Bull. 2021 Jun 1;51(3):38-49.


Importance: Religiosity and guilt are commonly featured in obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD). The role of religiosity and guilt in OCD has been frequently studied in the literature and suggested that greater religiosity/spirituality, paranormal beliefs, and magical ideation have often been associated with enhanced obsessive-compulsive behavior. India being a multi-religious country, it is particularly notable that a research was required to assess the role of religiosity and guilt in symptomatology and outcome in OCD, a condition in which religious themes are often present. It has also been documented that the fear of guilt for doing something irresponsibly may lead to OCD symptoms.

Objective: The study aimed to seek the role of religiosity and guilt in symptomatology and outcome of OCD. This study also aimed to assess the pattern of symptomatology of patients with OCD and the relation between religiosity and guilt.

Settings and design: This was a single-centered, prospective study for one year with six months follow-up.

Methods and material: Fifty OCD subjects of either gender, aged between 18 years and 45 years were included in this study and were assessed using Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale, Belief into Action Scale, and The Guilt Inventory instruments for the measurement of OCD severity, religiosity, and guilt, respectively. All the recorded data were analyzed using IBM® SPSS® version 20.1.

Results: At baseline, OCD severity was positively correlated with religiosity and guilt, while after 6-month follow-up, OCD severity was negatively correlated with religiosity and positively correlated with guilt.

Conclusion: Religiosity and guilt have significant effect on the symptomatology and outcome of OCD.

Keywords: guilt; obsessive-compulsive disorder; religiosity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Guilt
  • Humans
  • Magic
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Religion