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Keywords:

  • obsessive-compulsive disorder;
  • obsessive-compulsive symptom dimensions; anxiety disorders;
  • disgust sensitivity;
  • “not just right” experiences;
  • familial factors

Introduction

Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is a heterogeneous condition, which can be expressed as various symptom dimensions, including contamination/cleaning and symmetry/ordering. Previous research suggests that these obsessive-compulsive (OC) dimensions may show specific associations with certain traits such as disgust sensitivity and “not just right” experiences (NJREs), but whether a familial association between these variables exists is unknown.

Objectives

The goal of this study was to test whether parental disgust sensitivity and NJREs predicted contamination/cleaning and symmetry/ordering respectively in the offspring.

Method

Contamination/cleaning, symmetry/ordering, disgust sensitivity, NJREs, and negative affect were assessed in a nonclinical sample (n = 184 triads comprising 184 female undergraduates and their parents). Associations between parental and offspring variables were investigated by means of bivariate correlations and multiple regression models, controlling for relevant variables.

Results

Neither disgust sensitivity nor NJREs in parents were significant predictors of contamination/cleaning or symmetry/ordering in the offspring.

Conclusions

Combined with previous research, our results suggest that the best familial predictors of OC symptom dimensions are the same symptom dimensions themselves.