The Role of Behavioral Activation-Inhibition, Impulsivity and Alexithymia in Discriminating Students with Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive and Paranoid Personality Disorders from Normal Controls

Document Type: Original Article


1 Professor, Department of Psychology, School of Educational and psychology, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, Iran

2 Department of General Psychology, School of Educational and psychology, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, Iran

3 Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, School of Educational and psychology, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, Iran


Background and Aims: The purpose of the study was to examine the role of behavioral activation-inhibition, impulsivityand alexithymia in discriminating students with symptoms of obsessive-compulsive and paranoid personality disorders from normal controls.

Methods: The studied sample includes all the students in University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Iran, in 2011 (n = 8344). At the first stage, to identify the students with obsessive-compulsive and paranoid personality disorders, 368 students were selected through simple random sampling method and the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III was completed for them. In the second stage, 25 students were selected for each group and the Gray-Wilson Personality Questionnaire, Barratt Impulsiveness Scale and the Toronto Alexithymia Scale were completed by them. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and discriminant analysis.

Results: Behavioral activation-inhibition, impulsivity and alexithymia played significant role in discriminating students with symptoms of obsessive-compulsive and paranoid personality disorders and had the potential to predict the changes concerned with obsessive-compulsive and paranoid personality disorders.

Conclusion: It seems that attention to and evaluation of the roles of behavioral activation-inhibition, impulsivity and alexithymia as effective factors in obsessive-compulsive and paranoid personality disorders is necessary.


  1. Jazayeri AR, Jafarizadeh Z, Pourshahbaz A. Study and comparison between personality traits and coping strategies among opium addicts (within the age of 30-36). Research on Addiction 2003; 1(2): 3-18. [In Persian].
  2. Azad H. Psychopathology. Tehran, Iran: Besat Publication; 2010. [In Persian].
  3. Sadock B, Kaplan H, Sadock VA. Kaplan & Sadock's synopsis of psychiatry: behavioral sciences/clinical psychiatry. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2007.
  4. American Psychiatry Association. The revised passage of the statistical and recognition guide of mental disorders. Trans. Nikkhoo MR. Tehran, Iran: Sokhan Publication; 2010. [In Persian].
  5. Majlesi N, Behzadi S, Ganji H. Comparison between net reaction time span, short term spatial memory and cognitive inhibition in those suffering from compulsion and obsession. Thought and Behavior in Clinical Psychology 2008; 3(10): 83-98. [In Persian].
  6. Fontenelle LF, Mendlowicz MV, Versiani M. Impulse control disorders in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 2005; 59(1): 30-7.
  7. Grant JE, Mancebo MC, Pinto A, Eisen JL, Rasmussen SA. Impulse control disorders in adults with obsessive compulsive disorder. J Psychiatr Res 2006; 40(6): 494-501.
  8. Lumley MA, Stettner L, Wehmer F. How are alexithymia and physical illness linked? A review and critique of pathways. J Psychosom Res 1996; 41(6): 505-18.
  9. Gray J. Framework for taxonomy of psychiatric disorders. In: van Goozen S, van de Poll N, Sergeant JA, Editors. Emotions: Essays on Emotion Theory. New York, NY: Psychology Press, 1994.
  10. Azad Falah P, Dadsetan P. Brain- Behavioral systems: Bio functions of personality. Modarres Human Sciences 2000; 4(1): 63-82. [In Persian].
  11. Gray J, McNaughton N. The neuropsychology of anxiety: Reprise. In: Hope DA, Izard CE, Editors. Perspectives on anxiety, panic, and fear. Omaha, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1996. p. 61-134.
  12. Corr PJ, Perkins AM. The role of theory in the psychophysiology of personality: from Ivan Pavlov to Jeffrey Gray. Int J Psychophysiol 2006; 62(3): 367-76.
  13. Erdle S, Rushton JP. The general factor of personality, BIS–BAS, expectancies of reward and punishment, self-esteem, and positive and negative affect. Personality and Individual Differences 2010; 48(6): 762-6.
  14. Corr PJ, Pickering AD, Gray JA. Personality and reinforcement in associative and instrumental learning. Personality and Individual Differences 1995; 19(1): 47-71.
  15. Corr PJ. Reinforcement sensitivity theory and personality. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2004; 28: 317-32.
  16. Purkord M, Abolghasemi A, Narimani M, Rezaee H. Direct and indirect impact of self-efficacy, impulsivity, behavioral activation-inhibition and social skills on substance abuse in students. Journal of Research and Education Office 2013; 7(26): 11-28. [In Persian].
  17. Dawe S, Loxton NJ. The role of impulsivity in the development of substance use and eating disorders. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2004; 28(3): 343-51.
  18. Arce E, Santisteban C. Impulsivity: a review. Psicothema 2006; 18(2): 213-20.
  19. Ekhteyari H, Behzadi A. Frontal paddle shell, Making-decision disorders and the evaluating tests. Recog Sci 2001; 3: 64-86. [In Persian].
  20. Dickman SJ, Meyer DE. Impulsivity and speed-accuracy tradeoffs in information processing. J Pers Soc Psychol 1988; 54(2): 274-90.
  21. Zuckerman M. P-impulsive sensation seeking and it’s behavioral, psychophysiological and biochemical correlates. Neuropsychobiology 1993; 28(1-2): 30-6.
  22. Sifneos P. Clinical observations on some patients suffering from a variety of psychosomatic diseases. Acta Medicina Psychosomatic, 1967; 7: 1-10.
  23. Madadi A, Ghaeli P. Effect of fluoxetine on alexithymia in patient with major depression disorder [Online]. [cited 2002]; Available from: URL: [In Persian].
  24. Besharat MA. Relation of alexithymia with ego defense styles. J Fundam Ment Health 2008; 10(3): 181-90.
  25. Bankier B, Aigner M, Bach M. Alexithymia in DSM-IV disorder: comparative evaluation of somatoform disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression. Psychosomatics 2001; 42(3): 235-40.
  26. Richards HL, Fortune DG, Griffiths CE, Main CJ. Alexithymia in patients with psoriasis: clinical correlates and psychometric properties of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20. J Psychosom Res 2005; 58(1): 89-96.
  27. Haviland MG, Shaw DG, Cummings MA, MacMurray JP. Alexithymia: subscales and relationship to depression. Psychother Psychosom 1988; 50(3): 164-70.
  28. Millon T, Millon C, Davis R, Grossman S. MCMI-III, Millon clinical multiaxial inventory-III: manual. Piscataway, NJ: National Computer Systems; 1994.
  29. Sharifi AA. MCMI-III guide. Tehran, Iran: Ravansanji Publication; 2007. [In Persian].
  30. Sepah Mansour M. Relationship between Behavioral Activation System (BAS) and Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS) with students' capabilities and behavioral disorder. Thought and Behavior in Clinical Psychology 2010; 5(17): 57-64. [In Persian].
  31. Barratt E. Impulsivity: Integrating cognitive, behavioral, biological, and environmental data. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association; 1993. p. 446.
  32. Patton JH, Stanford MS, Barratt ES. Factor structure of the Barratt impulsiveness scale. J Clin Psychol 1995; 51(6): 768-74.
  33. Bagby RM, Taylor GJ, Parker JD. The Twenty-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale--II. Convergent, discriminant, and concurrent validity. J Psychosom Res 1994; 38(1): 33-40.
  34. Müller J, Alpers GW, Reim N. Abnormal attentional bias in alexithymia. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 2004; 56(6): 617.
  35. Carver C, White TL. Behavioral inhibition, behavioral activation, and affective responses to impending reward and punishment: The BIS/BAS Scales. J Pers Soc Psychol 1994; 67(2): 319-33.
  36. Pickering A, Gray J. The neuroscience of personality. In: Pervin JL, Editor. Handbook of personality. New York, NY: Guilford Press; 1999. p. 227-99.
  37. Muris P, Meesters C, de Kanter E, Timmerman PE. Behavioural inhibition and behavioural activation system scales for children: relationships with Eysenck's personality traits and psychopathological symptoms. Pers Individ Dif 2005; 38(4): 831-41.
  38. Ghafari M, Mehrabizadeh M, Khajedin N, Mousavi N. The comparison of impulsivity between responsive and non-responsive obsessive-compulsive patients to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Sci Med J 2011; 10(2): 221-8. [In Persian].
  39. Carpiniello B, Lai L, Pirarba S, Sardu C, Pinna F. Impulsivity and aggressiveness in bipolar disorder with co-morbid borderline personality disorder. Psychiatry Res 2011; 188(1): 40-4.
  40. Motan I, Gencoz T. [The relationship between the dimensions of alexithymia and the intensity of depression and anxiety]. Turk Psikiyatri Derg 2007; 18(4): 333-43.
  41. Sifneos PE. Alexithymia, clinical issues, politics and crime. Psychother Psychosom 2000; 69(3): 113-6.