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Background: Cross-cultural factors attributed to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that are widely investigated around the world are mostly epidemiological, with no respect to the impact of culture on the structure of OCD behavior itself.
Methods: Nine Israeli and nine British OCD patients with respective non-OCD individuals were compared. To determine whether OCD symptoms are consistent across cultures, similarities in behavior were analyzed, as well as differences due to a country effect. In each country, nine OCD patients and nine non-OCD individuals were videotaped while performing the task that the patients attributed to their behavior.
Results: Except for a significantly higher rate of repetition and higher performance of idiosyncratic acts, patients from both Israel and the United Kingdom showed high levels of similarities in 22 out of 24 parameters. Compared with Israeli subjects, British OCD patients had significantly longer chains of idiosyncratic acts, and a twice-higher prevalence of brief (1–2 second) idiosyncratic acts. Between-country differences were mild, possibly overridden by the conspicuous impact of OCD pathology, resulting in a similar OCD phenotype.
Conclusion: These results qualitatively and quantitatively emphasize the universal appearance of the compulsions in OCD symptoms.
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