Explicating the Dispositional Basis of the OCRDs: a Hierarchical Perspective

  • David Watson
  • Sara M. Stasik-O’Brien
  • Stephanie Ellickson-Larew
  • Kasey Stanton


We examined the dispositional component of the obsessive-compulsive and related disorders (OCRDs) in a large adult sample. Our battery included two hierarchical measures of personality, which allowed us to examine relations with both higher-order domains and lower-order facets of the five-factor model. In addition, our study included multiple indicators of each OCRD, which enabled us to model them as latent factors. Principal factor analyses of these indicators revealed six dimensions: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Hoarding, Excoriation, Body Dissatisfaction, Trichotillomania, and Body Preoccupation. Body Dissatisfaction, OCD, and Hoarding showed the strongest links to personality, with the other symptoms displaying more moderate associations. Neuroticism was the strongest and broadest predictor of the OCRDs at the domain level, exhibiting significant positive relations with every symptom dimension except Body Preoccupation in both bivariate and multivariate analyses. Conscientiousness showed negative associations with Body Dissatisfaction and Hoarding, and was positively related to Body Preoccupation. Finally, openness was negatively linked to OCD at both the bivariate and multivariate level. In comparison to domain-level analyses, the lower-order facets jointly contributed an additional 11.8% (Excoriation) to 17.6% (OCD) of the criterion variance, with a mean increment of 14.2%. Three neuroticism facets—anger, self-consciousness, and impulsiveness—displayed robust positive associations with two or more OCRD symptom factors, but no lower-order trait contributed significantly in every analysis. Overall, our results indicate that—similar to most other forms of psychopathology—OCRD symptoms have a common component of elevated neuroticism.


Hierarchical models of personality Five-factor model of personality Factor analysis Obsessive-compulsive disorder Hoarding Body dysmorphic disorder Trichotillomania Excoriation 



We thank Lee Anna Clark, Patrick Cruitt, Mark Godding, Haley Heibel, Ana Hernandez, Brittany Katz, Katie Kraemer, Mallory Meter, John Souter, Nadia Suzuki, and Elizabeth Yahiro for their help in the preparation of this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

David Watson, Sara M. Stasik-O'Brien, Stephanie Ellickson-Larew, Kasey Stanton declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Experiment Participants

All procedures performed in the reported study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committees and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Ethical Approval

All of the research reported here was approved by the University of Notre Dame Institutional Review Board.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in this study.


  1. Abramowitz, J. S., & Jacoby, R. J. (2015). Obsessive-compulsive and related disorders: A critical review of the new diagnostic class. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 11, 165–186.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen, M. S., Vella, S. A., Swann, C., & Laborde, S. (2018). Personality and the subjective experience of body mass in Australian adults. Journal of Research in Personality, 72, 73–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  4. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  5. Cash, T. F. (1990). The multidimensional body-self relations questionnaire. Unpublished test manual, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA.Google Scholar
  6. Cash, T. F. (2000). The multidimensional body-self relations questionnaire users’ manual. Available from the author at
  7. Cash, T. F., Phillips, K. A., Santos, M. T., & Hrabosky, J. I. (2004). Measuring “negative body image”: Validation of the body image disturbance questionnaire in a nonclinical population. Body Image, 1, 363–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chamberlain, S. R., & Odlaug, B. L. (2014). Body focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) and personality features. Current Behavioral Neuroscience Reports, 1, 27–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cloninger, C. R., Przybeck, T. R., & Svrakic, N. M. (1991). The tridimensional personality questionnaire : U. S. normative data. Psychological Reports, 69, 1047–1057.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Cohen, J. (1992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 155–159.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Connelly, B. S., & Ones, D. S. (2010). An other perspective on personality: Meta-analytic integration of observers’ accuracy and predictive validity. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 1092–1122.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Costa Jr., P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Revised NEO personality inventory (NEO-PI-R) and NEO five-factor inventory (NEO-FFI) professional manual. Odessa: Psychological Assessment Resources.Google Scholar
  13. Flessner, C. A., Woods, D. W., Franklin, M. E., Cashin, S. E., Keuthen, N. J., & the Trichotillomania Learning Center-Scientific Advisory Board (TLC-SAB). (2008). The Milwaukee inventory for subtypes of trichotillomania-adult version (MIST-A): Development of an instrument for the assessment of “focused” and “automatic” hair pulling. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 30, 20–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Foa, E. B., Huppert, J. D., Leiberg, S., Langner, R., Kichic, R., Hajcak, G., & Salkovskis, P. M. (2002). The obsessive-compulsive inventory: Development and validation of a short version. Psychological Assessment, 14, 485–496.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Frost, R. O., Steketee, G., & Grisham, J. (2004). Measurement of compulsive hoarding: Saving inventory-revised. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 42, 1163–1182.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Hezel, D. M., & Hooley, J. M. (2014). Creativity, personality, and hoarding behavior. Psychiatry Research, 220, 322–327.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Hopko, D. R., Reas, D. L., Beck, J. G., Stanley, M. A., Wetherell, J. L., Novy, D. M., et al. (2003). Assessing worry in older adults: Confirmatory factor analysis of the Penn State worry questionnaire and psychometric properties of an abbreviated model. Psychological Assessment, 15, 173–183.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Horn, J. L. (1965). A rationale and test for the number of factors in factor analysis. Psychometrika, 30, 179–185.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Johnson, R. E., Rosen, C. C., & Djurdjevic, E. (2011). Assessing the impact of common method variance on higher order multidimensional constructs. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96, 744–761.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Keuthen, N. J., O’Sullivan, R. L., Ricciardi, J. N., Shera, D., Savage, C. R., Borgmann, A. S., et al. (1995). The Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Hairpulling scale: 1. Development and factor analyses. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 64, 141–145.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Keuthen, N. J., Wilhelm, S., Deckersbach, T., Engelhard, I. M., Forker, A. E., Baer, L., & Jenike, M. A. (2001). The skin picking scale: Scale construction and psychometric analyses. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 50, 337–341.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Keuthen, N. J., Tung, E. S., Altenburger, E. M., Blais, M. A., Pauls, D. L., & Flessner, C. A. (2015). Trichotillomania and personality traits from the five-factor model. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, 37, 317–324.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Keuthen, N. J., Tung, E. S., Tung, M. G., Curley, E. E., & Flessner, C. A. (2016). NEO-FFI personality clusters in trichotillomania. Psychiatry Research, 239, 196–203.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Klein, D. N., Kotov, R., & Bufferd, S. J. (2011). Personality and depression: Explanatory models and review of the evidence. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 7, 269–295.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  25. Kotov, R., Gamez, W., Schmidt, F., & Watson, D. (2010). Linking “big” personality traits to anxiety, depressive, and substance use disorders: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 768–821.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. LaSalle-Ricci, V. H., Arnkoff, D. B., Glass, C. R., Crawley, S. A., Ronquillo, J. G., & Murphy, D. L. (2006). The hoarding dimension of OCD: Psychological comorbidity and the five-factor personality model. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44, 1503–1512.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Lochner, C., Simeon, D., Niehaus, D. J. H., & Stein, D. J. (2002). Trichotillomania and skin-picking: A phenomenological comparison. Depression and Anxiety, 15, 83–86.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. McCrae, R. R., Costa Jr., P. T., & Martin, T. A. (2005). The NEO-PI-3: A more readable revised NEO personality inventory. Journal of Personality Assessment, 84, 261–270.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. O’Connor, B. P. (2000). SPSS and SAS programs for determining the number of components using parallel analysis and Velicer’s MAP test. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 32, 396–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Phillips, K. A. (1996). The broken mirror: Understanding and treating body dysmorphic disorder. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Phillips, K. A., & McElroy, S. L. (2000). Personality disorders and traits in patients with body dysmorphic disorder. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 41, 229–236.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Raines, A. M., Oglesby, M. E., Allan, N. P., Short, N. A., & Schmidt, N. B. (2016). Understanding DSM-5 hoarding disorder: A triple vulnerability model. Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes, 79, 120–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rector, N. A., Hood, K., Richter, M. A., & Bagby, R. M. (2002). Obsessive-compulsive disorder and the five-factor model of personality: Distinction and overlap with major depressive disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 40, 1205–1219.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Rees, C. S., Anderson, R. A., & Egan, S. J. (2005). Applying the five-factor model of personality to the exploration of the construct of risk-taking in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 34, 31–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Reio, T. G., Jr. (2010). The threat of common method variance bias to theory building. Human Resource Development Review, 9, 405–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Roberts, A., & Good, E. (2010). Media images and female body dissatisfaction: The moderating effects of the five-factor traits. Eating Behaviors, 11, 211–216.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Rosellini, A. J., & Brown, T. A. (2011). The NEO five-factor inventory: Latent structure and relationships with dimensions of anxiety and depressive disorders in a large clinical sample. Assessment, 18, 27–38.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Samuels, J., Nestadt, G., Bienvenu, O. J., Costa Jr., P. T., Riddle, M. A., Liang, K.-Y., et al. (2000). Personality disorders and normal personality dimensions in obsessive-compulsive disorder. British Journal of Psychiatry, 177, 457–462.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Samuels, J. F., Bienvenu, O. J., Pinto, A., Murphy, D. L., Piacentini, J., Rauch, S. L., et al. (2008). Sex-specific correlates of hoarding in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 46, 1040–1046.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  40. Schmidt, F. L., Le, H., & Ilies, R. (2003). Beyond alpha: An empirical examination of the effects of different sources of measurement error on reliability estimates for measures of individual differences constructs. Psychological Methods, 8, 206–224.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Singareddy, R., Moin, A., Spurlock, L., Merritt-Davis, O., & Uhde, T. W. (2003). Skin picking and sleep disturbances: Relationship to anxiety and need for research. Depression and Anxiety, 18, 228–232.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Snorrason, Í., Smári, J., & Ólafsson, R. P. (2011). Motor inhibition, reflection impulsivity, and trait impulsivity in pathological skin picking. Behavior Therapy, 42, 521–532.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2017). The next big five inventory (BFI-2): Developing and assessing a hierarchical model with 15 facets to enhance bandwidth, fidelity, and predictive power. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 113, 117–143.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Spielberger, C. D., Gorsuch, R. L., Lushene, R., Vagg, P. R., & Jacobs, G. A. (1983). Manual for the state-trait anxiety inventory (form Y). Palo Alto: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
  45. Stanton, K., Rozek, D. C., Stasik-O’Brien, S. M., Ellickson-Larew, S., & Watson, D. (2016). A transdiagnostic approach to examining the incremental predictive power of emotion regulation and basic personality dimensions. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 125, 960–975.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Stanton, K., Daly, E. J., Stasik, S. M., Ellickson-Larew, S. A., Clark, L. A., & Watson, D. (2017). An integrative analysis of the narcissistic personality inventory and the hypomanic personality scale: Implications for construct validity. Assessment, 24, 695–711.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Stein, D. J., Craske, M. A., Friedman, M. J., & Phillips, K. A. (2014). Anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, trauma- and stressor-related disorders, and dissociative disorders in DSM-5. American Journal of Psychiatry, 171, 611–613.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Tok, S., Tatar, A., & Morali, S. L. (2010). Relationship between dimensions of the five factor personality model, body image satisfaction, and social physique anxiety in college students. Studia Psychologica, 52, 59–66.Google Scholar
  49. Trull, T. J., Widiger, T. A., & Burr, R. (2001). A structured interview for the assessement of the five-factor model of personality: Facet-level relations to the Axis II personality disorders. Journal of Personality, 69, 175–198.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Van Ameringen, M., Patterson, B., & Simpson, W. (2014). DSM-5 obsessive-compulsive and related disorders: Clinical implications of new criteria. Depression and Anxiety, 31, 487–493.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Velicer, W. F. (1976). Determining the number of components from the matrix of partial correlations. Psychometrika, 41, 321–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Walther, M. R., Flessner, C. A., Conelea, C. A., & Woods, D. W. (2009). The Milwaukee inventory for the dimensions of adult skin picking (MIDAS): Initial development and psychometric properties. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 40, 127–135.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Watson, D. (2000). The body dysmorphic questionnaire. Unpublished manuscript, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA.Google Scholar
  54. Watson, D., & Naragon-Gainey, K. (2014). Personality, emotions, and the emotional disorders. Clinical Psychological Science, 2, 422–442.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  55. Watson, D., & Wu, K. D. (2005). Development and validation of the schedule of compulsions, obsessions, and pathological impulses (SCOPI). Assessment, 12, 50–65.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Watson, D., Gamez, W., & Simms, L. J. (2005). Basic dimensions of temperament and their relation to anxiety and depression: A symptom-based perspective. Journal of Research in Personality, 39, 46–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Watson, D., O’Hara, M. W., Naragon-Gainey, K., Koffel, E., Chmielewski, M., Kotov, R., et al. (2012). Development and validation of new anxiety and bipolar symptom scales for an expanded version of the IDAS (the IDAS-II). Assessment, 19, 399–420.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Watson, D., Clark, L. A., Chmielewski, M., & Kotov, R. (2013). The value of suppressor effects in explicating the construct validity of symptom measures. Psychological Assessment, 25, 929–941.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  59. Watson, D., Stasik, M. R., Chmielewski, M., & Naragon-Gainey, K. (2015). Development and validation of the temperament and affectivity inventory (TAI). Assessment, 22, 540–560.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Watson, D., Stasik, S. M., Ellickson-Larew, S., & Stanton, K. (2015a). Explicating the psychopathological correlates of anomalous sleep experiences. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice, 2, 57–78.Google Scholar
  61. Watson, D., Stasik, S. M., Ellickson-Larew, S., & Stanton, K. (2015b). Extraversion and psychopathology: A facet-level analysis. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 124, 432–446.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Watson, D., Nus, E., & Wu, K. D. (2017, June 5). Development and validation of the faceted inventory of the five-factor model (FI-FFM). Assessment. Advance online publication.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA
  2. 2.Knox CollegeGalesburgUSA

Personalised recommendations