Was Freud partly right on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)? Investigation of latent aggression in OCD

Steffen Moritz*, Stefan Kempke, Patrick Luyten, Sarah Randjbar, Lena Jelinek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Inflated responsibility is increasingly regarded a pathogenetic mechanism in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In seeming contrast, there is mounting evidence that latent aggression is also elevated in OCD. Building upon psychodynamic theories that an altruistic façade including exaggerated concerns for others is partly a defense against latent aggression, evidence was recently obtained for high interpersonal ambivalence in OCD patients relative to psychiatric and healthy controls using a newly developed instrument entitled the Responsibility and Interpersonal Behaviors and Attitudes Questionnaire (RIBAQ). A total of 46 OCD patients and 23 healthy participants took part in the present study. OCD patients displayed a higher social responsibility than controls. At the same time, patients also disclosed more latent aggression/calculating behavior and interpersonal distrust. While the pathogenic role of latent aggression is still not fully uncovered, it may deserve more consideration in treatment in view of frequent tensions in the families of OCD patients. Longitudinal studies with at-risk sample are needed to assess the relationship between problems with anger expression as well as (exaggerated) moral standards in OCD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-184
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Aggression
  • Anger
  • Hostility
  • Obsessions
  • OCD
  • Responsibility


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