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Mol Psychiatry. 2006 May;11(5):495-504.

The Dimensional Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (DY-BOCS): an instrument for assessing obsessive-compulsive symptom dimensions.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of São Paulo Medical School, São Paulo, Brazil.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) encompasses a broad range of symptoms representing multiple domains. This complex phenotype can be summarized using a few consistent and temporally stable symptom dimensions. The objective of this study was to assess the psychometric properties of the Dimensional Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (DY-BOCS). This scale measures the presence and severity of obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms within six distinct dimensions that combine thematically related obsessions and compulsions. The DY-BOCS includes portions to be used as a self-report instrument and portions to be used by expert raters, including global ratings of OC symptom severity and overall impairment. We assessed 137 patients with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV diagnosis of OCD, aged 6-69 years, from sites in the USA, Canada and Brazil. Estimates of the reliability and validity of both the expert and self-report versions of the DY-BOCS were calculated and stratified according to age (pediatric vs. adult subjects). The internal consistency of each of the six symptom dimensions and the global severity score were excellent. The inter-rater agreement was also excellent for all component scores. Self-report and expert ratings were highly intercorrelated. The global DY-BOCS score was highly correlated with the total Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale score (Pearson r = 0.82, P<0.0001). Severity scores for individual symptom dimensions were largely independent of one another, only modestly correlated with the global ratings, and were also differentially related to ratings of depression, anxiety and tic severity. No major differences were observed when the results were stratified by age. These results indicate that the DY-BOCS is a reliable and valid instrument for assessing multiple aspects of OCD symptom severity in natural history, neuroimaging, treatment response and genetic studies when administered by expert clinicians or their highly trained staff.

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