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Deficiency in Self-Control: Unraveling Psychological and Behavioral Risk Factors for Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms in College Students.

OBJECTIVE: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a complex mental disorder to treat. However, there are some deficiencies in research performed to date about the psychological and behavioral factors that may trigger obsessive-compulsive symptoms (OCS). Based on the Psychopathology of Self-Control Theory which states that deficits in self-control underpin psychiatric symptoms, this study investigated the factors influencing OCS among college students.

METHODS: A total of 5599 non-clinical Chinese college students were recruited to complete the Chinese version of the Self-Control Scale, Aitken Procrastination Inventory, and Symptom Checklist-90. Pearson's correlation analyses and the bootstrap method were performed to test our hypothesis.

RESULTS: The following results were obtained: (a) There were significant correlations among self-control, procrastination, anxiety, and OCS. (b) When controlling for the effects of age and sex, self-control remained a significant negative predictor of OCS. (c) The mediating roles of procrastination and anxiety, and the chain mediating role of procrastination and anxiety were the three predicted pathways linking self-control and OCS.

CONCLUSION: This study highlights the significance of self-control deficiencies in OCS. It provides new insights into the psychological and behavioral factors that increase the risk of OCS with important practical implications for early intervention in OCD.

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