Case Control Study
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2021. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Psychiatr. Feb 19, 2021; 11(2): 50-57
Published online Feb 19, 2021. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v11.i2.50
Psychic euosmia among obsessive-compulsive personality disorder patients: A case control study
Annalisa Maraone, Lorenzo Tarsitani, Marianna Frascarelli, Federica Petrini, Valentina Roselli, Massimiliano Tinè, Gabriele Cavaggioni, Vlasios Brakoulias, Massimo Biondi, Massimo Pasquini
Annalisa Maraone, Marianna Frascarelli, Federica Petrini, Massimiliano Tinè, Gabriele Cavaggioni, Massimo Biondi, Massimo Pasquini, Department of Human Neurosciences, Sapienza University, Rome 00185, Italy
Lorenzo Tarsitani, Valentina Roselli, Department of Neurosciences and Mental Health, Umberto I Policlinic, Rome 00185, Italy
Vlasios Brakoulias, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Western Sydney University and Western Sydney Local Health District, Blacktown 2145, SNW, Australia
Vlasios Brakoulias, Department of Psychiatry, Nepean Hospital, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Penrith 2751, SNW, Australia
Author contributions: Pasquini M was the creator of the study; Maraone A and Pasquini M wrote the manuscript, Tarsitani L and Frascarelli M conducted the statistical analysis; Petrini F, Roselli V, Tinè M and Cavaggioni G recruited the sample and collected the data for the study; Brakoulias V, Biondi M and Pasquini M designed the study.
Institutional review board statement: The study was reviewed and approved by the Policlinico Umberto I Institutional Review Board, approval No. 6080.
Informed consent statement: All study participants, or their legal guardian, provided informed written consent prior to study enrollment.
Conflict-of-interest statement: All authors declare the absence of conflict of interests related to the present study.
Data sharing statement: No additional data are available.
STROBE statement: The authors have read the STROBE Statement—checklist of items, and the manuscript was prepared and revised according to the STROBE Statement—checklist of items.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: Marianna Frascarelli, MD, Doctor, Department of Human Neurosciences, Sapienza University, Viale dell’Università 30, Rome 00185, Italy.
Received: September 17, 2020
Peer-review started: September 17, 2020
First decision: December 1, 2020
Revised: December 13, 2020
Accepted: December 27, 2020
Article in press: December 27, 2020
Published online: February 19, 2021
Research background

According to a dimensional approach, personality disorders can be considered “a quantitative” variation of personality traits within a continuum between normality and psychopathology. In this sense, some manifestations such as orderliness and cleanliness in obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) subjects do not necessarily represent a maladaptive variant. Psychic euosmia (PE) is a positive aspect of OCPD that was recently described as a psychological predisposition for which pleasant smells elicit an immediate sense of pleasure, order and calmness in OCPD.

Research motivation

Few studies have focused on positive aspects of OCPD. In the absence of other scientific observations, our group decided to investigate the presence of this phenomenon among OCPD patients and subsequently how PE ought to be considered.

Research objectives

We delineate three possible hypotheses: PE is a manifestation of orderliness, is a just right component, or is the counterpart of disgust that has been associated to contamination and moral purity. In this study we tried to verify this last interpre-tation.

Research methods

The sample consisted of 129 subjects: 45 patients affected by OCPD and 84 healthy controls. To explore the presence of OCPD in both groups we submitted self-report Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-5 Screening Personality Questionnaire to which we added an additional question to investigate the presence of PE. All participants completed the Disgust Scale Revised to evaluate the disgust sensitivity. We used the Italian version of the Disgust Scale Revised.

Research results

Regarding the presence of PE, a significant difference was found between groups in how they answered the corresponding item during the interview. Among the 45 study subjects with OCPD, 36 (80%) were positive. While among 84 HC, only 36 (42.9%) were positive. Interestingly no differences were observed between groups in the mean score at the Disgust Scale.

Research conclusions

Results suggest that PE might be part of the clinical spectrum of OCPD, and it does not reflect the counterpart of disgust. In our study, PE is over-represented among OCPD subjects. This supports an association, and one might speculate that PE is related to orderliness and cleanliness in this population.

Research perspectives

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case-control study on PE. There is need for additional research to better understand PE and its significance in OCPD.