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Compr Psychiatry. 2005 Nov-Dec;46(6):453-9.

Quality of life in obsessive-compulsive disorder before and after treatment.

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Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital of Hamburg, Germany.



The assessment of Quality of Life (QoL) is an important tool for elucidating target symptoms that are particularly bothersome to patients. The present study was designed to explore predictors of decreased QoL in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) patients and to explore which aspects of QoL are most affected in OCD. Furthermore, the study investigated changes in QoL after treatment and the association between QoL change scores with symptomatic outcome. In line with prior research, it was expected that low QoL in OCD patients would be most pronounced for the emotional and social aspects of the construct.


Seventy-nine OCD patients were initially recruited. Patients were assessed with the SF-36 both before and after treatment. Norm values were derived from the general population to characterize status of impairment. OCD patients were contrasted with published SF-36 scores from 2 OCD samples as well as a newly recruited psychiatric and healthy control sample.


Correlations with QoL were most pronounced for depression severity and number of OCD symptoms. Apart from low social and emotional QoL in the majority of patients, a large subgroup also reported lower physical well-being. Decreased scores on this subscale were mainly associated with length of illness, depression, and number of compulsions. Overall, QoL was significantly improved in therapy responders relative to nonresponders.


The results largely correspond to previous findings showing that OCD patients share severely compromised well-being. Somewhat unexpected from previous research, QoL deficits were not restricted to emotional and social aspects of QoL but extended to somatic domains. The present results suggest that clinicians should thoroughly explore for depression as well as physical impairments in OCD patients, which, when present, may be additionally targeted to achieve comprehensive treatment success.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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