Individual differences in obsessive-compulsive (OC) behavior in various cultures appear to be associated with religiosity. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of religion in OC symptoms and cognitions in distinctly low and high religious groups from a normal community sample of 119 Iranian Muslims. Specifically, we compared the two groups on OC cognitions and symptoms, and we examined the correlations between the cognitive and symptom measures within each group. There was a trend for the high religious group to produce greater scores than those in the low religious group on the Obsessive Beliefs Questionnaire (OBQ) subscale of threat overestimation and responsibility. Furthermore, participants that were more religious achieved significantly higher scores on the Penn Inventory of Scrupulosity and on its Fear of God subscale. Although a number of significant correlations were observed between OBQ and Padua Inventory total and subscale scores, particularly in the low religious group, there was no conclusive relationship between religiosity and OC behavior and obsessional beliefs. Religion appears to be one more arena where OC symptoms expressed, rather than being a determinant of the disorder.
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