Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 3–12 | Cite as

Scrupulosity and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: The Cognitive Perspective in Islamic Sources

  • Lutfullah Besiroglu
  • Sitki Karaca
  • Ibrahim Keskin
Original Paper


A moral/religious subtype of obsessive compulsive disorder has been termed as scrupulosity by mental health professionals. Since ultimate feared consequence in scrupulous individuals is religious or moral in nature, it also presents interesting and difficult issue for religious authorities. This article focuses on various aspects of scrupulosity that have until now been poorly conceptualized in Islamic world and provides a conceptual cognitive framework and analysis of scrupulosity according to Islamic sources.


Obsessive compulsive disorder Scrupulosity Religiosity Islam Cognitive theory Thought-action fusion 


  1. Abramowitz, J. S., Huppert, J. D., Cohen, A. B., Tolin, D. F., & Cahill, S. P. (2002). Religious obsessions and compulsions in a non-clinical sample: The Penn Inventory of Scrupulosity (PIOS). Behaviour Research and Therapy, 40, 825–838.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abramowitz, J. S., Whiteside, S., Lynam, D., & Kalsy, S. (2003). Is thought–action fusion specific to obsessive–compulsive disorder?: A mediating role of negative affect. Behavior Research and Therapy, 41, 1069–1079.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ahmed b. Hanbel. (n.d.). El-Müsned, el-Fethu’r-Rabbani Tertibi, Ensar Yayıncılık.Google Scholar
  4. Al-Bukhari. (n.d.). Sahih Bukhari. (M.M. Khan, Trans.).
  5. Altın, M., & Gençöz, T. (2011). How does thought-action fusion relate to responsibility attitudes and thought suppression to aggravate the obsessive-compulsive symptoms? Behavior Cognitive Psychotherapy, 39, 99–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. American Psychiatric Association. (2005). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-IV) (4th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
  7. Antony, M., Purdon, C., Huta, V., & Swinson, R. (1998). Dimensions of perfectionism across the anxiety disorders. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 36, 1143–1154.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Arkan, A. (2006). Ibn Rusd Psikolojisi. Istanbul: Iz Yayıncılık.Google Scholar
  9. Besiroglu, L., & Ağargün, M. Y. (2006). The correlates of healthcare seeking behavior in obsessive–compulsive disorder: A multidimensional approach]. Turk Psikiyatri Dergisi, 17, 213–222.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Besiroglu, L., Çetinkaya, N., Selvi, Y., & Atli, A. (2011). Effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors on thought-action fusion, metacognitions, and thought suppression in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 52, 556–561.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bloch, M. H., Landeros-Weisenberger, A., Rosario, M. C., Pittenger, C., & Leckman, J. F. (2008). Meta-analysis of the symptom structure of obsessive-compulsive disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 165, 1532–1542.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Boysan, M., Besiroglu, L., Çetinkaya, N., Atli, A., & Aydin, A. (2010). The validity and reliability of the Turkish version of the Obsessive Beliefs Questionnaire-44 (OBQ-44. Archives of Neuropsychiatry, 47, 216–222.Google Scholar
  13. Clark, D. A., & Rhyno, S. (2005). Unwanted intrusive thoughts in nonclinical individuals: Implications for clinical disorders. In D. A. Clark (Ed.), Intrusive thoughts in clinical disorders: Theory, research and treatment (pp. 1–29). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  14. Cohen, A. B., & Rozin, P. (2001). Religion and the morality of mentality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 697–710.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Greenberg, D., & Huppert, J. D. (2010). Scrupulosity: A unique type obsessive compulsive disorder. Current Psychiatry Reports, 12, 282–289.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Greenberg, D., Witztum, E., & Pisante, J. (1987). Scrupulosity: Religious attitudes and clinical presentations. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 60, 29–37.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj. (n.d.). Sahih Muslim (A. Siddiqui Trans.).
  18. Nelson, E. A., Abramowitz, J. S., Whiteside, S. P., & Deacon, B. J. (2006). Scrupulosity in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder: Relationship to clinical and cognitive phenomena. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 20, 1071–1086.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Nursi, B. N. (2002). The words. Istanbul: Sözler Neşriyat.Google Scholar
  20. Nursi, B. N. (2007). The letters. New Jersey: The Light, Inc.Google Scholar
  21. Obsessive Compulsive Cognitions Working Group. (1997). Cognitive assessment of obsessive compulsive disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 35, 667–681.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Okasha, A., Saad, A., Khalil, A. H., el Dawla, A. S., & Yehia, N. (1994). Phenomenology of obsessive-compulsive disorder: A transcultural study. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 35, 191–197.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Purdon, C., & Clark, D.A. (2005). Overcoming obsessive thoughts: how to gain control of your OCD. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.Google Scholar
  24. Rachman, S. J. (1997). A cognitive theory of obsessions. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 35, 793–802.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Rachman, S., & De Silva, P. (1978). Abnormal and normal obsessions. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 16, 233–248.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rahman, F. (1952). Avicenna’s Psychology, An English Translation of Kitāb al-Najāt, Book II, Chapter VI with historico-philosophical notes and textual, improvements on the Cairo edition (pp. 77–83) (F. Rahman, Trans.). London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Rassin, E., & Koster, E. (2003). The correlation between thought-action fusion and religiosity in a normal sample. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 41, 361–368.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Salkovskis, P. M. (1985). Obsessional-compulsive problems: A cognitive-behavioural analysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 23, 571–583.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Shafran, R., Thordarson, D. S., & Rachman, S. (1996). Thought–action fusion in obsessive compulsive disorder. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 10, 379–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Siev, J., Chambless, D. L., & Huppert, J. D. (2010). Moral thought–action fusion and OCD symptoms: The moderating role of religious affiliation. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 24, 309–312.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Siev, J., & Cohen, A. B. (2007). Is thought–action fusion related to religiosity? Differences between Christians and Jews. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45, 829–837.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Şukran, V. (2005). Islam in modern Turkey: An intellectual biography of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi. State University of New York: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  33. Tek, C., & Ulug, B. (2001). Religiosity and religious obsessions in obsessive–compulsive disorder. Psychiatry Research, 104, 99–108.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wegner, D. M., Schneider, D. J., Carter, S. R., & White, T. L. (1987). Paradoxical effects of thought suppression. Journal of Personality and SocialPsychology, 53, 5–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Yorulmaz, O., Gençöz, T., & Woody, S. (2010). Vulnerability factors in OCD symptoms: Cross-cultural comparisons between Turkish and Canadian samples. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 17, 110–121.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lutfullah Besiroglu
    • 1
  • Sitki Karaca
    • 2
  • Ibrahim Keskin
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of MedicineYuzuncu Yil UniversityVanTurkey
  2. 2.Umit Health ClinicsEskişehirTurkey
  3. 3.Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts and SciencesAlparslan UniversityMuşTurkey

Personalised recommendations