Validation and psychometric properties of the Italian version of the Fear of Guilt Scale




Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Guilt, Fear of Guilt, sensitivity of guilt, FOGS


Several studies and clinical observations have proven the central role of the fear of guilt in the genesis and maintenance of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. To date, questionnaires are available in Italian that measure one’s propensity to experience guilt and sensitivity towards this emotion, understood as a tendency to negatively judge this experience and its effects, but not the fear of guilt and the commitment to prevent or neutralise this experience. The purpose of this study is to validate the Italian version of the Fear of Guilt Scale (FOGS), a tool that would facilitate a more comprehensive understanding of the weight of this specific factor in the obsessive symptomatology. To this end, the FOGS was administered to two non-clinical samples (Study 1) and to a clinical population diagnosed with either Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder or Anxiety Disorder (Study2). Study 1 confirmed the original two-factors structure (Punishment and Harm Prevention), and showed adequate internal consistency, convergent and divergent validity of the Italian version of the FOGS. Study 2 revealed that the Italian version of the FOGS was able to discriminate between patients with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and the other clinical control groups, and in predicting the severity of obsessive symptoms. Clinical and research implications are also discussed.