Characterizing impulsivity profile in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder

Beatrice Benatti, Bernardo Dell'Osso, Chiara Arici, Eric Hollander, A. Carlo Altamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Objective. Impulsivity represents a key dimension in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), in relation to outcome and course. It can be assessed through the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS), which explores three main areas: attentional, motor, and nonplanning. Present study was aimed to assess level of impulsivity in a sample of OCD patients, in comparison with healthy controls, using the BIS. Methods. Seventy-five OCD outpatients, 48 of them having psychiatric comorbidities and 70 healthy controls, were assessed through the BIS, and their scores were analyzed using Student's t-test for independent samples, on the basis of demographic and clinical characteristics. Results. BIS total scores were significantly higher (P: 0.01) in patients compared to controls, with no difference between pure and comorbid patients. Attentional impulsivity scores were significantly higher than controls in patients with pure (P < 0.001) and comorbid OCD (P < 0.001), without differences among them. Patients with multiple OC phenotypes showed higher, though statistically non significant, total and attentional scores, compared to single phenotype patients. In addition, patients with comorbid major depressive disorder had higher, though statistically non significant, total and attentional scores, compared to patients with comorbid bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and other disorders. Conclusions. Present findings showed higher impulsivity levels in OCD patients versus controls, particularly in the attentional area, and ultimately suggest a potential cognitive implication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-160
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Barratt impulsiveness scale
  • Comorbidity
  • Impulsivity
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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