Obsessive patients and deontological guilt: a review

Francesco Mancini, Amelia Gangemi (2017): Obsessive patients and deontological guilt: a review. In: Psychopathology Review, 4 (2), pp. 155-168, 2017, ISSN: 2051-8315.


In line with the Appraisal Theories of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), in this review we present some experiments aimed at demonstrating the role of fear of guilt in OCD. What kind of guilt do OC patients want to prevent? Several studies suggest the existence of two different types of guilt emotions, namely deontological guilt and altruistic guilt. This research suggests that the former, more than the latter, is involved in OCD. Moreover, it demonstrates that the deontological guilt is related to disgust, and that this relationship could explain why both fear of contamination and fear of guilt are often co-present in obsessive patients. Finally, research shows that the Not Just Right Experience (NJRE) in OCD can be influenced by the deontological guilt. Future research should further verify the actual role of deontological guilt in OCD, and its therapeutical implications