Background: Previous studies may have underestimated the potential importance of the prevalence of obsessive-compulsive traits among persons with alcoholism. Although many studies have examined the characteristics of young alcoholics compared with middle-aged alcoholics, none has compared the prevalence of obsessive-compulsive traits in young and middle-aged alcoholics. Methods: This study compared the prevalence of obsessive-compulsive traits (Leyton Obsessional Inventory) and depressive symptoms (Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale) among young (n = 41) and middle-aged (n = 34) hospitalized Japanese male alcoholics and in young (n = 28) and middle-aged (n = 25) nonalcoholic subjects. Results: Both young and middle-aged male alcoholics reported more obsessive-compulsive personality traits and depressive symptoms than their comparison groups. However, the alcoholic subjects' obsessive-compulsive personality traits were not related to their level of depressive symptoms. Conclusions: Young and middle-aged male Japanese alcoholics have more obsessive-compulsive personality traits than nonalcoholic males of similar ages. Their alcohol-related psychological and behavioral characteristics may derive, in part, from their obsessive-compulsive symptoms.
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