Mood instability in people with obsessive compulsive disorder and obsessive-compulsive personality traits

Rudy Bowen, Lloyd Balbuena, Marilyn Baetz, Steven Marwaha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: This study examines the association of mood instability (MI) with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and obsessive-compulsive personality (OCP) traits. Methods: Data was from 2000 and 2007 British Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Surveys. MI was assessed with a self-reported question about sudden mood changes and with the mood reactivity criterion of the borderline personality disorder assessment done by an interviewer, both from the Structured Clinical Interview (SCID-II). OCD diagnosis was established using the Clinical Interview Schedule-Revised. OCP traits were self-reported responses to 8 questions from SCID-II. Results: Individuals assessed with MI by both methods separately are more likely to have an OCD diagnosis (OR: 7.28, 95% CI: 3.94-13.45) and (OR: 9.88, 95% CI: 3.90-25.03). The association remained significant when we controlled for depression and excluded OCD cases with comorbid psychiatric disorders. Individuals with MI are more likely to report OCP traits (OR: 9.88, 95% CI: 3.90-25.03). Except for moral scrupulosity, MI is associated with all other OCP traits (p<.01). The proportion of individuals with MI increased linearly with number of OCP traits. Conclusions: MI is common in people with OCD and OCP traits. Further understanding of MI in people with OCD and OCP traits could lead to improved treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-113
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2015


  • Affective instability
  • Mood instability
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive personality traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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