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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2008 May;47(5):583-92. doi: 10.1097/CHI.0b013e31816774b1.

Impact of comorbidity on cognitive-behavioral therapy response in pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA. estorch@psychiatry.ufl.edu.



To examine the impact of psychiatric comorbidity on cognitive-behavioral therapy response in children and adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder.


Ninety-six youths with obsessive-compulsive disorder (range 7-19 years) received 14 sessions of weekly or intensive family-based cognitive-behavioral therapy. Assessments were conducted before and after treatment. Primary outcomes included scores on the Children's Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale, response rates, and remission status.


Seventy-four percent of participants met criteria for at least one comorbid diagnosis. In general, participants with one or more comorbid diagnoses had lower treatment response and remission rates relative to those without a comorbid diagnosis. The number of comorbid conditions was negatively related to outcome. The presence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and disruptive behavior disorders was related to lower treatment response rates, and the presence of disruptive behavior disorders and major depressive disorder were related to lower remission rates.


The presence of a comorbid disorder, particularly disruptive behavior, major depressive, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders, has a negative impact on treatment response. Assessing for psychiatric disorders before treatment entry and treating these comorbid conditions before or during cognitive-behavioral therapy may improve final outcome. Comorbid anxiety or tic disorders do not seem to negatively affect response.

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