A Study on Convergence, Divergence and Maintenance in OCD Patients


The aim of this study was to verify if patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) adopted self-referential and non-adherent interactive modalities, during face-to-face conversation, to a higher extent as compared with subjects who did not have a diagnosis of OCD. For this purpose, four subjects with OCD and four age, sex and education matched Normal Controls (NC) underwent a semi-structured interview. The video-taped records have been evaluated and coded by means of the Initiative-Response Analysis system (I-R). The interview allowed us to obtain indexes of interactive strategies, namely, convergence, divergence and maintenance, which have been interpreted in the Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT) framework. Subjects with OCD, as compared with both NC and interviewers, mainly used Maintenance strategy, indicating a non-adherence to turns and an over-reliance on their own turns, thus neglecting the partners contribution. This kind of strategy exclusively correlated with the scores of the Y-BOCS compulsion subscale. Results are consistent with the hypothesis that communication in subjects with OCD relies on particular strategies and support the view that communication is strongly correlated with personological variables. This hypothesis may be incorporated (not being incompatible with) in the CAT framework.

Share and Cite:

Stabile, D. , Scafuto, F. , Gnisci, A. and Iavarone, A. (2013) A Study on Convergence, Divergence and Maintenance in OCD Patients. Open Journal of Medical Psychology, 2, 86-92. doi: 10.4236/ojmp.2013.23014.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] C. Lee, H. Giles and R. N. Saint Clair, “The Social and Psychological Context of Language,” LEA, Hillsdale, 1980.
[2] P. Robinson and H. Giles, “The New Handbook of Language and Social Psychology,” John Wiley, New York, 2001.
[3] G. Bateson, “Step to an Ecology of Mind Chandler,” University of Chicago Press, New York, 1972.
[4] R. Y. Bourhis, “Language in Ethnic Interaction: A Social Psychological Approach,” Pergamon, Oxford, 1979.
[5] A. Gnisci, “Sequential Strategies of Accommodation: A New Method in Courtroom,” British Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 44, No. 4, 2005, pp. 621-643. doi:10.1348/014466604X16363
[6] A. Gnisci and R. Bakeman, “Sequential Accommodation of Turn Taking and Turn Length: A Study of Courtroom Interaction,” Journal of Language and Social Psychology, Vol. 9, No. 26, 2007, pp. 234-259. doi:10.1177/0261927X06303474
[7] J. M. Jan, “Code-Switching for Power Wielding: Inter Gender Discourse at the Workplace,” Multilingua, Vol. 22, No. 1, 2003, pp. 41-57. doi:10.1515/mult.2003.003
[8] R. M. McCann and H. Giles, “Communication with People of Different Age in the Workplace: Thai and American Data,” Human Communication Research, Vol. 32, No. 1, 2006, pp. 74-108. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2958.2006.00004.x
[9] A. R. Scott and H. Giles, “Intergroup Relations: Its Linguistic and Communicative Parameters,” Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, Vol. 8, No. 3, 2005, pp. 211-214. doi:10.1177/1368430205053938
[10] H. Ota, H. Giles and C. Gallois, “Perceptions of Younger, Middle-Aged and Older Adults in Australia and Japan: Stereotypes and Age Group Vitality,” Journal of Intercultural Studies, Vol. 23, No. 3, 2002, pp. 253-266.
[11] M. K. David, “Preface,” Multilingua, Vol. 22, No. 1-4, 2003.
[12] H. Tajfel, C. Flement, M. Billig and R. P. Bundy, “Social Categorization and Intergroup Behaviour,” European Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1971, pp. 149-178. doi:10.1002/ejsp.2420010202
[13] F. Mancini, “Un Modello Cognitivo del Disturbo Ossessivo-Compulsivo,” Psicoterapia, Vol. 22-23, 2001, pp. 43-60.
[14] F. Mancini, F. D’Olimpio and S. D’Ercole, “Responsability, Attitude, Obsession e Compulsion: Further Support in a Non Clinical Sample,” Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, Vol. 8, No. 4, 2001, pp. 274-281. doi:10.1002/cpp.292
[15] A. Pedon and A. Gnisci, “Metodologia della Ricerca Psicologica,” Il Mulino, Bologna, 2004.
[16] W. K. Goodman, L. H. Price, S. A. Rasmussen, et al., “The Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale: I. Development Use and Reliability,” Archives of General Psychiatry, Vol. 46, No. 11, 1989, pp. 1006-1011. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1989.01810110048007
[17] P. I. Marconi and F. De Palma, “La Misura Delle Ossessioni e gli Strumenti di Valutazione,” In: P. Pancheri, Ed, Ossessioni, Compulsioni e Continuum Ossessivo, Il Pensiero Scientifico Editore, Roma, 1992, pp. 4175-4180.
[18] P. Linell, L. Gustavsson and P. Juvonen, “Interactional Dominance in Dyadic Communication: A Presentation of Iniziative-Response Analysis,” Linguistic, Vol. 26, 1988, pp. 415-442.
[19] P. Linell, “The Power of Dialogue Dynamics,” In: H. Giles and N. Coupland, Eds., Contexts of Accommodation, University Press, Cambridge, 1990.
[20] A. Gnisci and R. Bakeman, “L’osservazione e l’Analisi Sequenziale dell’Interazione,” L.E.D., Milano, 2000.
[21] R. Bakeman and A. Gnisci, “Sequential Observational Methods,” In: M. Eid and E. Dieneer, Eds., Handbook of Multimethod Measurement in Psychology, APA, Washington DC, 2005, pp. 127-140.
[22] B. F. Robinson and R. Bakeman, “ComKappa: A Windows 95 Program for Calculating Kappa and Related Statistics,” Behaviour Research Methods, Instruments e Computers, Vol. 30, 1998, pp .731-733.
[23] American Psychiatric Association (APA), “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR),” APA, Washington DC, 2000.
[24] L. Anolli, “Psicologia della Comunicazione,” Il Mulino, Bologna, 2002.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.