How effective are cognitive and behavioral treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder? A clinical significance analysis

Behav Res Ther. 2005 Dec;43(12):1543-58. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2004.11.007.


Controlled outcome studies investigating the efficacy of psychological treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have employed different methods of determining the clinical significance of treatment effects. This makes it difficult to draw conclusions regarding the absolute and relative efficacy of psychological treatments for OCD. To address this issue, standardized Jacobson methodology for defining clinically significant change was applied to recent psychological outcome trials for OCD. The proportion of asymptomatic patients following treatment was also calculated. When recovery is defined by Jacobson methodology, exposure and response prevention (ERP) appears the most effective treatment currently available (50-60% recovered). However, when the asymptomatic criterion is used as the index of outcome, ERP and cognitive therapy have low and equivalent recovery rates (approximately 25%).

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / therapy*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome