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Towards a better understanding of adolescent obsessive–compulsive personality traits and obsessive–compulsive symptoms from growth trajectories of perfectionism

This article is mainly based on my (Selim's) first year paper with Prof. Jaap Denissen and dr. Elien De Caluwé. I enjoyed working with them a lot!

Although there is increasing attention for the interrelationship between obsessive–compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) and obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), their shared characteristics in terms of childhood trait antecedents remain understudied. Perfectionism may be a viable candidate trait antecedent, given its role in the clinical manifestation of both OCPD and OCD in adulthood, and the evidence that perfectionism reflects a dispositional tendency observable from childhood onwards. However, little is known about childhood trajectories of perfectionism with prospective links to later OCPD versus OCD. Using latent growth curve modeling, this study explored the baseline and growth of childhood perfectionism in 485 community and referred children (55.5% girls, 7.17–14.78 years old, Mage = 10.74, SD = 1.50) across three waves. Adolescent OCPD traits and OCD symptoms were measured in Wave 4. An overall decreasing trend of perfectionism from childhood through adolescence appeared, without inter-individual differences in growth. Individual differences in baseline levels of childhood perfectionism were significant, and equally predicting adolescent OCPD and OCD outcomes. At a more specific level, childhood perfectionism predicted most strongly the rigid perfectionism component of OCPD, and the orderliness/cleanliness/perfectionism and obsession domain of OCD. This demonstrates the value of childhood perfectionism for understanding differential outcomes of adolescent OCPD traits and OCD symptoms.

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Sametoğlu, S., Denissen, J., De Clercq, B., & De Caluwé, E. (2021). Towards a better understanding of adolescent obsessive–compulsive personality traits and obsessive–compulsive symptoms from growth trajectories of perfectionism. Development and Psychopathology, 1-9. doi:10.1017/S0954579421000195

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