Quality of life in OCD: differential impact of obsessions, compulsions, and depression comorbidity

Can J Psychiatry. 2003 Mar;48(2):72-7. doi: 10.1177/070674370304800202.


Objective: An anxiety disorder severely affects the sufferer's quality of life (QOL), and this may be particularly true of those with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This study examines the differential impact of obsessions, compulsions, and depression comorbidity on the QOL of individuals with OCD.

Method: Forty-three individuals diagnosed with OCD according to DSM-IV criteria and experiencing clinically significant obsessions and compulsions completed measures of QOL, obsessive-compulsive symptom severity, and depression severity.

Results: Obsession severity was found to significantly predict patient QOL, whereas the severity of compulsive rituals did not impact on QOL ratings. Comorbid depression severity was the single greatest predictor of poor QOL, accounting for 54% of the variance.

Conclusions: Given the importance of these symptoms, treatments that directly target obsessions and secondary depression symptoms in OCD are warranted. However, replication of these findings in a prospective cohort study is required, because although the the current study's cross-sectional design allows for the examination of the associations among obsessions, depression, and QOL, it cannot establish their temporal framework (that is, causal relations).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology
  • Quality of Life*
  • Severity of Illness Index