High sensitivity to punishment and low impulsivity in obsessive-compulsive patients with hoarding symptoms

Miquel Angel Fullana, David Mataix-Cols, Xavier Caseras, Pino Alonso, Josep Manuel Menchón, Julio Vallejo, Rafael Torrubia

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50 Citations (Scopus)


Recent factor-analytic studies involving over 2000 patients have reduced the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) into a few dimensions or potentially overlapping syndromes. Hoarding consistently emerged as a separate factor in all these studies. This study investigated the relationship between OCD symptom dimensions and normal personality traits in a sample of 56 OCD patients. They were administered the Sensitivity to Punishment and Sensitivity to Reward Questionnaire and the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, derived from Gray's and Eysenck's personality models, respectively. The personality scores were correlated with previously identified symptom dimensions from the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale Symptom Checklist (Y-BOCS-SC), controlling for overall illness severity. High scores on the hoarding dimension of the Y-BOCS-SC were positively correlated with scores on the Sensitivity to Punishment scale and negatively with Eysenck's Psychoticism scale. While high sensitivity to punishment is a personality feature common to many OCD patients, it is more strongly pronounced in patients with hoarding symptoms. These patients also appear to be less impulsive or novelty seeking as reflected by low scores on Eysenck's Psychoticism scale. High sensitivity to punishment and low novelty seeking in OCD hoarders might explain their poor compliance and response to conventional treatments, but this question needs to be explored further in a prospective treatment study. © 2004 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-27
JournalPsychiatry Research
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2004


  • Hoarding
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Personality
  • Symptom dimensions


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