CNE Article 

Othello Syndrome: Preventing a Tragedy when Treating Patients with Delusional Disorders

Marcia A. Miller, PhD, RN; Andreas M. Kummerow, MS, RN; Tennyson Mgutshini, PhD, RCN, Pg Dip (Ed), MSc

  • Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services
  • August 2010 - Volume 48 · Issue 8: 20-27
  • DOI: 10.3928/02793695-20100701-05


Othello syndrome, sometimes referred to as delusional, pathological, morbid, or erotic jealousy, is a rare delusional disorder with high-risk implications. This article provides an overview of Othello syndrome and includes an individual example as well as a review of the literature. Pharmacological interventions and dialectical behavior therapy are discussed as options for pathological jealousy. Nursing considerations and assessment strategies of delusional jealousy are described for identification and evaluation of risk factors. Patient safety is addressed, and collaborative interventions are proposed for treatment. Staff development for the treatment team is advocated to help staff identify delusional patients and act prudently to avert possible tragic consequences associated with Othello syndrome.


Dr. Miller is Associate Professor, Department of Advanced Practice Nursing, Mr. Kummerow is Special Purpose Faculty, and Dr. Mgutshini is Associate Professor, Department of Baccalaureate Nursing Completion, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana.

The authors disclose that they have no significant financial interests in any product or class of products discussed directly or indirectly in this activity, including research support.

Address correspondence to Marcia A. Miller, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, Department of Advanced Practice Nursing, Indiana State University, 749 Chestnut Street, Terre Haute, IN 47809; e-mail:



Healio is intended for health care provider use and all comments will be posted at the discretion of the editors. We reserve the right not to post any comments with unsolicited information about medical devices or other products. At no time will Healio be used for medical advice to patients.