Meta-Analysis of Intelligence Quotient (IQ) in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Neuropsychol Rev. 2018 Mar;28(1):111-120. doi: 10.1007/s11065-017-9358-0. Epub 2017 Sep 1.


Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is associated with a moderate degree of underperformance on cognitive tests, including deficient processing speed. However, despite little research focusing on Intelligence Quotient (IQ) in OCD, it has long been speculated that the disorder is associated with elevated intellectual capacity. The present meta-analytic study was, therefore, conducted to quantitatively summarize the literature on IQ in OCD systematically. We identified 98 studies containing IQ data among individuals with OCD and non-psychiatric comparison groups, and computed 108 effect sizes for Verbal IQ (VIQ, n = 55), Performance IQ (PIQ, n = 13), and Full Scale IQ (FSIQ, n = 40). Across studies, small effect sizes were found for FSIQ and VIQ, and a moderate effect size for PIQ, exemplifying reduced IQ in OCD. However, mean IQ scores across OCD samples were in the normative range. Moderator analyses revealed no significant moderating effect across clinical and demographic indices. We conclude that, although lower than controls, OCD is associated with normative FSIQ and VIQ, and relatively lowered PIQ. These results are discussed in light of neuropsychological research in OCD, and particularly the putative impact of reduced processing speed in this population. Recommendations for utilization of IQ tests in OCD, and directions for future studies are offered.

Keywords: IQ; Intellectual functioning; Intelligence; Neuropsychology; OCD; Review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology*