OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to compare certain demographic
and clinical variables in a group of obsessional followers and in a group
of offenders with mental disorders. METHOD: A static group design comprised
of a nonrandom group of convenience and a randomly selected comparison
group was used. Twenty obsessional followers in custody and 30 offenders
with mental disorders in custody were evaluated by psychiatrists and
psychologists for court-ordered reasons during their criminal proceedings.
Both groups were evaluated during the same period, in the same court
diagnostic clinic, and for the same psycholegal reasons. The group of
obsessional followers was measured on demographic, clinical, and victim
variables. Inferential comparisons that used nonparametric statistics were
done between groups on selected demographic and clinical variables.
RESULTS: The obsessional followers were significantly older, more
intelligent, and better educated than the offenders. There were no
significant differences in DSM-III-R axis I diagnoses. Axis II diagnoses
showed significant differences, with the obsessional followers more likely
to have a personality disorder other than antisocial personality disorder
and less likely to have antisocial personality disorder. CONCLUSIONS: The
likelihood of obsessional followers having a nonantisocial axis II
personality disorder (related to attachment pathology) distinguishes them
from offenders with mental disorders in general. They are also likely to be
older, smarter, and better educated, consistent with their resourcefulness
and manipulativeness. Idiographic aspects of the obsessional followers
further illuminate their psychological defenses and object relations.