The nature and measurement of compulsive indecisiveness

Behav Res Ther. 1993 Sep;31(7):683-92. doi: 10.1016/0005-7967(93)90121-a.


Indecisiveness is an often mentioned symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder and obsessive compulsive personality disorder, yet very little research has been done examining its nature and measurement. Three studies are presented here which examine the nature of compulsive indecisiveness using a newly developed scale. In study 1 the Indecisiveness Scale was correlated with measures of obsessionality and compulsive checking among normal S s. It was also correlated with the maladaptive evaluative concern dimensions of perfectionism and with compulsive hoarding. In study 2 indecisive S s (as measured by the Indecisiveness Scale) were found to score higher on measures of procrastination and general psychopathology. In addition, they reported problems in making decisions in a variety of life domains (social, academic, family and everyday). In study 3 S s who scored high on the Indecisiveness Scale were found to have longer latencies on an experimental decision-making task. The implications of these findings for the nature of indecisiveness were discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Decision Making*
  • Defense Mechanisms
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / therapy
  • Personality Inventory
  • Problem Solving
  • Stereotyped Behavior