Embitterment and metacognition in obsessive–compulsive disorder

  • \(\bf Objective\) Embitterment is a persistent emotion that is known to everybody in reaction to injustice and being let down, associated with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. People with psychiatric disorders can develop bitterness, which is to be understood as a form of reactive embitterment to the illness. The aim of this explorative study was to investigate the occurrence of embitterment in obsessive–compulsive patients compared to healthy volunteers and in the context of their metacognitions and other biographical and clinical characteristics. \(\bf Method\) Following a semi-structured diagnostic interview, a number of measures were administered to 31 patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) [ICD-10 F42.X: mean age 35.2 (SD = 10.7) years] and 31 healthy volunteers [mean age 39.1 (SD = 15.0) years]. These measures included the Post-Traumatic Embitterment Disorder questionaire (PTEDq) for measuring embitterment, the Yale-Brown Obsessive–Compulsive Scale, the Metacognition Questionnaire and other psychometric questionnaires such as the Beck Depression Inventory and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. \(\bf Results\) Patients with OCD scored more than three times higher (mean = 2.0, SD = 1.1) than the healthy participants in the PTEDq (mean = 0.6, SD = 0.8; \(\it p\) < 0.001), but the cut-off of < 2.5 for a clinically relevant embitterment disorder was not reached. Dysfunctionally distorted metacognition (MCQ-30), which is a consistent finding in OCD, as well as a generally high degree of clinical impairment were significantly cor related to the degree of embitterment. \(\bf Conclusion\) Our findings suggest that embitterment as measured by PTEDq is important in patients with OCD, who are characterized by metacognitive distortions with an injustice of fate as well as a mortification of their self-image. In future, it would be necessary to screen patients with OCD not only for depressive symptoms but also specifically for feelings of embitterment in order to be able to initiate appropriate psychotherapeutic measures at an early stage.

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Author:Paraskevi Mavrogiorgou-JuckelORCiDGND, Sarah BeckerGND, Sie‑In Lee‑GrimmGND, Georg JuckelORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):BMC psychiatry
Publisher:BioMed Central
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2024/01/09
Date of first Publication:2023/03/08
Publishing Institution:Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universitätsbibliothek
Tag:Open Access Fonds
Embitterment; Metacognition; Obsessive-compulsive disorder; Post-traumatic embitterment disorder (PTED)
Issue:Article 146
First Page:146-1
Last Page:146-10
Article Processing Charge funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Open Access Publication Fund of Ruhr-Universität Bochum.
Institutes/Facilities:LWL-Universitätsklinikum Bochum, Klinik für Psychiatrie, Psychotherapie und Präventivmedizin
Dewey Decimal Classification:Philosophie und Psychologie / Psychologie
open_access (DINI-Set):open_access
Licence (English):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY 4.0 - Attribution 4.0 International