Literature findings are limited and inconsistent on the relationship between obsessive beliefs and obsessive-compulsive symptoms (OCS) and to our knowledge no data are available in pregnant population. Additionally, an interesting field that has not been adequately studied is the relationship between obsessive-compulsive personality traits and OCS while there are no corresponding studies in perinatal period. The aims of the study were to examine the relationship between OCS presented in pregnancy and obsessive beliefs considered to underlie them as well as their association with obsessive-compulsive personality traits. 30 pregnant women with OCS, regardless of their underlying diagnosis, were recruited from a University Psychiatric Hospital and privately. They completed the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), the Yale-Brown Obsessive- Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS), the Dysfunctional Beliefs Questionnaire-44 (OBQ-44), the Leyton Trait Scale and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). The main symptoms were aggression (73.3%), contamination (53.3%) obsessions and cleansing/washing (50%), checking (43.3%) compulsions. Pregnant women with obsessive-compulsive personality traits displayed symmetry/exactness obsessions (p=0.020) and cleansing/washing (p=0.011) compulsions as predominant types of OCS and greater severity of compulsions (p=0.049). The results of the logistic regression model suggest that obsessive beliefs of importance/control of thoughts and of responsibility/threat estimation predicted OCS while the belief of perfectionism/certainty did not predict any dimension of OCS.  It is noteworthy that most observed relationships between obsessive beliefs and OCS remained even after controlling for variables of anxiety and depression, suggesting that obsessive beliefs have a specific relationship with OCS which is independent of other forms of psychopathology. Depressive symptoms comorbidity increased OCS severity, while in comorbidity with anxiety symptoms no difference in severity of OCS was found. Further research is needed to test our findings in larger and more diverse samples.

KEYWORDS: Obsessive-compulsive symptoms; pregnancy; perinatal; obsessive-compulsive personality traits; obsessive beliefs; anxiety; depression.

Ekaterini Vasileiou, Panagiota Fexi, Areti Spyropoulou, Iraklis Mourikis, Theodoros Chalimourdas, Ioannis Zervas


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