Background: The aspects of cultural identity and its impact on obsessive-compulsive
disorder (OCD) have been understudied. There are different opinions, ranging from the idea that
culture does not affect the symptoms of this condition to the idea that cultures with high religiosity
may have more severity of OCD. Also, the concept of OCD has considerably varied across history
and cultures, from being considered an issue related to lack of control of blasphemous ideas, and a
part of anxious issues, to the description of complex neurobiological systems in its causation.
Objective: The aim of this review was to address OCD as a well-characterized disorder with a proposed
neurobiological basis which may or may not have variations depending on cultural diversity.
The question that was asked in this review is whether or not there are cultural differences in the
manifestations of the OCD symptomatology and which factors of cultural diversity have a major
influence on such manifestations along with the differences among some cultures regarding OCD
issues, where the difference among countries has also been highlighted.
Methods: A review of the literature was conducted that includes the following words: obsessivecompulsive
disorder, culture, cultural identity and religion in a period of 10 years.
Conclusion: Cultural variations do not seem to differ from symptomatic clusters of OCD, which
may be indicating that a series of adaptive behaviors is evolutionarily evolving to be constantly
altered, perhaps by well-determined pathophysiological mechanisms. Some aspects that have been
related to some dimensions of OCD symptomatology are religion and religiosity, affecting the content
of obsessions and the severity of manifestations. Properly evaluating the education background,
access to health services, food, and the genetic structure of populations, using investigational instruments
sensitive to these cultural elements, will increase our understanding of the importance of
culture on OCD and its treatment.