A qualitative analysis of contemporary ultra-orthodox rabbinical perspectives on scrupulosity

Benny Horwitz, Ran Littman, David Greenberg, Jonathan D. Huppert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Scrupulosity is a religiously themed sub-type of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Religious individuals with scrupulosity tend to first turn to clergy for assistance rather than to mental health professionals. This is particularly relevant for Ultra-Orthodox Jewish patients, whose rabbis arbitrate a wide variety of life issues. In the current qualitative study, 15 Ultra-Orthodox rabbis were interviewed regarding their views on scrupulosity and their responses were analysed via grounded theory and thematic networks theory. All rabbis were familiar with scrupulosity and distinguished it from normative behaviors. Their conceptualizations regarding etiology were mostly psychological in nature, as opposed to religious or spiritual. Rabbis were generally supportive of psychology as a professional field and open to collaborating with therapists, although some controversies were raised. Given their isolated lifestyle, these findings are somewhat surprising and encouraging. Results suggest collaboration with Ultra-Orthodox rabbis can be fruitful and at times essential when dealing with scrupulosity.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)82-98
Number of pages17
JournalMental Health, Religion and Culture
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Judaism
  • Rabbi
  • Scrupulosity
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • religion


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