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Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Mar 1;61(5):617-25. Epub 2006 Oct 6.

Familiality of factor analysis-derived YBOCS dimensions in OCD-affected sibling pairs from the OCD Collaborative Genetics Study.

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  • 1Laboratory of Clinical Science, Intramural Research Program, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.



Identification of familial, more homogenous characteristics of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may help to define relevant subtypes and increase the power of genetic and neurobiological studies of OCD. While factor-analytic studies have found consistent, clinically meaningful OCD symptom dimensions, there have been only limited attempts to evaluate the familiality and potential genetic basis of such dimensions.


Four hundred eighteen sibling pairs with OCD were evaluated using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV and the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (YBOCS) Symptom Checklist and Severity scales.


After controlling for sex, age, and age of onset, robust sib-sib intraclass correlations were found for two of the four YBOCS factors: Factor IV (hoarding obsessions and compulsions (p = .001) and Factor I (aggressive, sexual, and religious obsessions, and checking compulsions; p = .002). Smaller, but still significant, familiality was found for Factor III (contamination/cleaning; p = .02) and Factor II (symmetry/ordering/arranging; p = .04). Limiting the sample to female subjects more than doubled the familiality estimates for Factor II (p = .003). Among potentially relevant comorbid conditions for genetic studies, bipolar I/II and major depressive disorder were strongly associated with Factor I (p < .001), whereas ADHD, alcohol dependence, and bulimia were associated with Factor II (p < .01).


Factor-analyzed OCD symptom dimensions in sibling pairs with OCD are familial with some gender-dependence, exhibit relatively specific relationships to comorbid psychiatric disorders and thus may be useful as refined phenotypes for molecular genetic studies of OCD.

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