Bulgarian Journal of Psychiatry, 2023; 8(1):10-16

Dimensions and predictors of obsessive-compulsive symptoms in medical students: a cross-sectional study in Medical University – Sofia

Desislava Ignatova, Georgi Onchev

Department of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology, Medical University – Sofia, Bulgaria

Abstract. Background: Obsessive-compulsive symptoms (OCS) are frequently reported in medical professionals. The Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory-Revised (OCI-R) is a commonly used instrument to evaluate OCS, typically revealing a 6-factor structure. Purpose: The purpose of the study is to examine the dimensions of OCS in medical students in the Medical University of Sofia, Bulgaria, and to analyze a range of clinical and socio-demographic variables as potential predictors of different type of OCS. Mate- rials and methods: Two hundred and ten Bulgarian and foreign students completed an online survey by self-rating the following instruments: the Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory-Revised (OCI-R), the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), the Early Trauma Inventory Self Report-Short Form (ETISR-SF), the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and the Zung Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS). Statistics is performed with SPSS 19.0 and include factor analyses and linear regression models with bootstrapping. Results: An exploratory factor analysis of OCI-R reveals 6 factor structure with factors washing, obsessing, hoarding, ordering, checking, and neutralizing. The highest percentage of variance is explained by the subscale ordering (34%). The subscale obsessing is predicted by anxiety (p = .001), alexithymia (p = .023) and childhood trauma (p = .004). Hoarding is predicted by childhood trauma (p = .012). Neutralizing is predicted by alexithymia (p = .027) and male gender (p = .044). Checking is predicted by alexithymia (p =.023), anxiety (p = .049) and younger age (p = .016). Ordering is predicted by anxiety (p = .006) and male gender (p = .021). Washing is predicted by childhood trauma (p = .007) and younger age (p = .017). Conclusion: The OCI-R proves to be a reliable instrument for evaluation of OCS in medical students.

Key words: obsessive-compulsive symptoms, OCI-R, childhood trauma, alexithymia, anxiety, depression

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