Family-based treatment of early-onset obsessive-compulsive disorder

J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2003;13 Suppl 1:S71-80. doi: 10.1089/104454603322126368.


Despite a meaningful common core of symptoms observed across the life span, there are particularly unique features of early-onset (prepubertal) obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that make consideration of early presentation different from adolescent or adult onset and that may have important implications for treatment. This article will first review the unique features of early-onset OCD, focusing particular attention to the developmental and familial context of these children's symptoms. The literature on behavioral family interventions for other childhood disorders, specifically anxiety, as well as that on family processes (e.g., parent-child interactions) in families of children with OCD will be reviewed. The pediatric OCD cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) literature (CBT alone and CBT plus medication) will also be reviewed, focusing on current evidence-based treatment guidelines. Finally, a model of family-based treatment for young children with OCD and some preliminary pilot data will be presented.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Child
  • Family Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / therapy*