Juvenile-onset OCD: clinical features in children, adolescents and adults

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2008 Aug;118(2):149-59. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2008.01224.x.


Objective: To examine clinical correlates of juvenile-onset OCD across the lifespan.

Method: Data collected at the intake interview from 257 consecutive participants with juvenile-onset OCD (20 children, 44 adolescents and 193 adults) in a naturalistic study of the clinical course of OCD were examined. Participants and parents of juvenile participants completed a structured diagnostic interview, rater-administered severity measures and self-report questionnaires.

Results: Children and adolescents (i.e. juveniles) shared similar features with the exception of age at onset and OCD symptom expression. Clinically meaningful differences between juvenile and adult participants were also found. Compared with adults, juveniles were more likely to be male, recall an earlier age at OCD onset and have different lifetime comorbidity patterns.

Conclusion: Juvenile-onset OCD symptom expression is remarkably similar across the lifespan. However, findings also suggest clinically meaningful differences between juveniles and adults. Future work using a prospective design will improve our understanding of course patterns of juvenile-onset OCD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mood Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mood Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mood Disorders / psychology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology
  • Parents / psychology
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Self Disclosure
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires