Introduction: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a tremendous psychiatric illness with a variety of severe symptoms. Feelings of shame and guilt are universal social emotions that fundamentally shape the way people interact with each other. Mental illness is therefore often related to pronounced feelings of shame and guilt in a maladaptive form. Methods: A total of 62 participants (38 women and 24 men) were clinically and psychometrically investigated. Results: The OCD patients (n = 31) showed a maladaptive guilt and shame profile, characterized by increased interpersonal feelings of guilt accompanied by a stronger tendency to self-criticism and increased punitive sense of guilt with a simultaneous prevailing tendency to perfectionism, as well as an increased concern for the suffering of others. The proneness to profuse shame in OCD patients seems to be in the context of the violation of inner values and a negative self-image with persistent self-criticism. Conclusion: Although there are limitations with a small sample size in this monocentric approach, our study underlines the importance of an individual consideration of the leading obsessive-compulsive symptomatology, especially in the context of very personal feelings of guilt and shame. Further multidimensional studies on guilt and shame could contribute to their implementation more strongly in individualized psychotherapy.

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