Are Catholics more likely to exhibit OCD symptoms?

The study examined the relationship between religion and symptoms of psychopathology, particularly obsessive-compulsive (OC) and scrupulosity symptoms. Religious affiliation, religiosity variables (strength of faith, religious application, the beliefs about God’s nature), and cognitive factors (e.g., obsessive beliefs) were studied as predictors of OC and scrupulosity symptoms in 179 non-clinical participants. The main groups (Catholic, Protestant, and no religion) were not different with regard to measures of wellbeing or symptoms of general psychopathology (depression, anxiety, and stress), but were different with regard to OC symptoms. Consistent with cognitive theory, OC beliefs strongly predicted both OC and scrupulosity symptoms, even when general levels of psychopathology were controlled. Religion bore a less major but significant association with OC phenomena. Religious affiliation (being Catholic) was associated with higher levels of OC symptoms, and higher levels of personal religiosity (strength of faith) were associated with higher levels of scrupulosity.

Source: “Relationship between religion and obsessive phenomena” from Australian Journal of Psychology, Volume 62, Issue 2 July 2010 , pages 93 – 102

David Sedaris discusses his own struggle with OCD in his excellent book Naked.

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