Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 41, Issue 11, pp 862–867 | Cite as

Obsessive–compulsive disorder and personality disorder

Evidence from the British National Survey of Psychiatric Morbidity 2000
  • Albina R. Torres
  • Paul Moran
  • Paul Bebbington
  • Traolach Brugha
  • Dinesh Bhugra
  • Jeremy W. Coid
  • Michael Farrell
  • Rachel Jenkins
  • Glyn Lewis
  • Howard Meltzer
  • Martin Prince



Previous studies indicate that most individuals with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) have comorbid personality disorders (PDs), particularly from the anxious cluster. However, the nature and strength of this association remains unclear, as the majority of previous studies have relied heavily on clinical populations. We analysed the prevalence of screen positive personality disorder in a representative sample of adults with OCD living in private households in the UK.


A secondary analysis of data from the 2000 British National Survey of Psychiatric Morbidity. The prevalence of PD, as determined by the SCID-II questionnaire, was compared in participants with OCD, with other neuroses and non-neurotic controls. Within the OCD group we also analysed possible differences relating to sex and subtypes of the disorder.


The prevalence of any screen positive PD in the OCD group (N = 108) was 74%, significantly greater than in both control groups. The most common screen positive categories were paranoid, obsessive–compulsive, avoidant, schizoid and schizotypal. Compared to participants with other neuroses, OCD cases were more likely to screen positively for paranoid, avoidant, schizotypal, dependent and narcissistic PDs. Men with OCD were more likely to screen positively for PDs in general, cluster A PDs, antisocial, obsessive–compulsive and narcissistic categories. The presence of comorbid neuroses in people with OCD had no significant effect on the prevalence of PD.


Personality pathology is highly prevalent among people with OCD who are living in the community and should be routinely assessed, as it may affect help-seeking behaviour and response to treatment.

Key words

obsessive–compulsive disorder personality pathology personality disorders screening comorbidity epidemiological survey 



The survey was carried out by Social Survey Division of the Office for National Statistics on behalf of the Department of Health, the Scottish Executive and the National Assembly for Wales.

Dr. A.R. Torres received a postdoctoral scholarship from CAPES, a Foundation subordinated to the Ministry of Education of Brazil, to develop this study at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London, UK.


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag Darmstadt 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albina R. Torres
    • 1
    • 9
  • Paul Moran
    • 2
  • Paul Bebbington
    • 3
  • Traolach Brugha
    • 4
  • Dinesh Bhugra
    • 2
  • Jeremy W. Coid
    • 5
  • Michael Farrell
    • 6
  • Rachel Jenkins
    • 2
  • Glyn Lewis
    • 7
  • Howard Meltzer
    • 8
  • Martin Prince
    • 6
  1. 1.Dept. of Neurology and PsychiatryBotucatu Medical School, UNESPBotucatuBrazil
  2. 2.Health Services Research Dept.Institute of PsychiatryLondonUK
  3. 3.Dept. of Mental Health SciencesUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.Dept. of PsychiatryUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK
  5. 5.Dept. of Forensic PsychiatrySt. Bartholomew’s HospitalLondonUK
  6. 6.Dept. of Psychological MedicineInstitute of PsychiatryLondonUK
  7. 7.Division of PsychiatryUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  8. 8.Social Survey DivisionOffice of National StatisticsLondonUK
  9. 9.Depto. de Neurologia e PsiquiatriaFaculdade de Medicina de Botucatu-UNESPBotucatuBrazil

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