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Depress Anxiety. 2009;26(1):39-45. doi: 10.1002/da.20506.

Quality of life and functional impairment in obsessive-compulsive disorder: a comparison of patients with and without comorbidity, patients in remission, and healthy controls.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.



Several studies have demonstrated that obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is associated with interference in quality of life (QOL) and functional impairment. However, these studies did not compare individuals in remission to individuals who continue to have the disorder, predominantly used comparisons with norms and not with a matched normal sample, and did not always consider the impact of comorbidity.


We administered multiple measures that assess QOL and functional impairment to 66 OCD patients who had previously consented for a clinical trial and to 36 age and sex matched individuals who denied any psychiatric history.


Results confirm that OCD was associated with significantly lower QOL and functional impairment compared to healthy controls (HCs) in areas of work, social life, and family life. Individuals with OCD and other comorbid psychiatric diagnoses showed the poorest QOL and functioning, with comorbid depression accounting for much of the variance. The levels of QOL and functioning in individuals in remission tended to lie in between HCs and individuals with current OCD: their QOL or functioning did not differ significantly from HCs nor did they consistently differ significantly from those who had current OCD.


These results suggest that individuals who are in remission have improved levels of QOL and functioning, whereas individuals with OCD are significantly impaired, and individuals with OCD and comorbid disorders are the most impaired. Treatment strategies should be focused on achieving remission of all symptoms to have the greatest impact on functioning and QOL.

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