Screening for Perinatal OCD: A Comparison of the DOCS and the EPDS

Assessment. 2021 Dec 30;10731911211063223. doi: 10.1177/10731911211063223. Online ahead of print.


Screening for perinatal-occurring obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is rare. We sought to evaluate the Dimensional Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (DOCS) as a screening tool for perinatal OCD and compare the screening accuracy of the DOCS with the commonly recommended Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). English-speaking, pregnant individuals aged 19+ (N = 574) completed online questionnaires and diagnostic interviews to assess for OCD prenatally and twice postpartum. The DOCS total score demonstrated the highest level of accuracy. Neither the EPDS-Full nor the three-item Anxiety subscale of the EPDS (EPDS-3A) met the criteria of a sufficiently accurate screening tool for OCD at any of the assessment points. Findings provide support for the DOCS as a screening tool for perinatal OCD and indicate a need for disorder-specific screening for perinatal anxiety and their related disorders (AD). Generalizability of findings is limited to Canada only. Future research would benefit from comparisons with measures of perinatal OCD (e.g., the Perinatal Obsessive-Compulsive Scale).

Keywords: obsessive-compulsive disorder; perinatal mental health; screening.