Developmental Aspects of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Findings in Children, Adolescents, and Adults

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Although juvenile obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is increasingly recognized as a putative developmental subtype of the disorder, comparisons among children, adolescents, and adults with OCD have been lacking. We aimed to evaluate clinical correlates of OCD in three developmentally distinct groups. Subjects comprised children, adolescents, and adults meeting DSM-III-R and DSM-IV criteria for OCD referred to separate specialized OCD clinics. All subjects were systematically evaluated with structured diagnostic interviews and clinical assessments by OCD experts. Specific clinical correlates and symptom profiles were associated with the disorder in different age groups. These findings support a hypothesis of developmental discontinuity between juvenile and adult OCD and identify age specific correlates of the disorder across the life cycle. Further work is needed to validate whether juvenile-onset OCD represents a true developmental subtype of the disorder.

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