Recent findings have suggested some potential psychological vulnerability factors for development of obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms, including cognitive factors of appraisal and thought control, religiosity, self-esteem and personality characteristics such as neuroticism. Studies demonstrating these associations usually come from Western cultures, but there may be cultural differences relevant to these vulnerability factors and OC symptoms. The present study examined the relationship between putative vulnerability factors and OC symptoms by comparing non-clinical samples from Turkey and Canada, two countries with quite different cultural characteristics. The findings revealed some common correlates such as neuroticism and certain types of metacognition, including appraisals of responsibility/threat estimation and perfectionism/need for certainty, as well as thought action fusion. However, culture-specific factors were also indicated in the type of thought control participants used. For OC disorder symptoms, Turkish participants were more likely to utilize worry and thought suppression, while Canadian participants tended to use self-punishment more frequently. The association with common factors supports the cross-cultural validity of some factors, whereas unique factors suggest cultural features that may be operative in cognitive processes relevant to OC symptoms. Copyright (C) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.