Neuropsychological impairments and their association with obsessive-compulsive symptom severity in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2011 Jun;26(4):364-76. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acr022. Epub 2011 Apr 14.


Neurobiological research in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) consistently demonstrates an association between abnormal brain activity and symptom severity. Conversely, research addressing the corresponding neuropsychological impairments in OCD and their association with symptom severity has produced inconsistent results. This study reexamines neuropsychological performance and its association with symptom severity in 30 participants with OCD while controlling for confounding variables. We used a computerized neuropsychological battery that was expected to provide more objective and accurate information and minimize examinee-examiner interactions, which may affect performance by reducing anxiety. The OCD group revealed dysfunctions on all neuropsychological domains compared with controls. OCD severity correlated significantly with the composite performance, executive functions, and verbal domain indexes. These results did not change after controlling for depression severity. We suggest that controlling for potential confounding variables and using a computerized battery may have contributed to the association found between obsessive symptoms and neuropsychological impairments. Theoretical implications are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Depression / psychology
  • Executive Function / physiology
  • Female
  • Fingers / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Mental Processes / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills / physiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / psychology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Space Perception / physiology
  • Stroop Test
  • Verbal Behavior / physiology
  • Young Adult