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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1994 Jul-Aug;33(6):782-91.

Frequency of obsessive-compulsive disorder in a community sample of young adolescents.

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Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, University of South Carolina, Columbia 29208.

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To investigate the frequency and phenomenology of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and subclinical OCD in young adolescents.


A two-stage epidemiological study originally designed to investigate adolescent depression was conducted between 1986 and 1988 in the southeastern United States. In the first stage, a self-report depressive symptom questionnaire was administered to a community sample of 3,283 adolescents. In the diagnostic stage, the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children and the Children's Global Assessment Scale were administered to 488 mother-child pairs.


The prevalences of OCD and subclinical OCD were found to be 3% and 19%, respectively. Prevalences were similar in males and females. Females reported more symptoms of compulsions although males reported more obsessions. About 55% of adolescents with OCD reported both obsessions and compulsions. The most common compulsions were arranging (56%), counting (41%), collecting (38%), and washing (17%). Major depressive disorder (45%), separation anxiety (34%), dysthymia (29%), suicidal ideation (15%), and phobia (8%) were the diagnoses most frequently comorbid with OCD.


Findings suggest that OCD is not infrequent among adolescents and that the characteristic comorbidity and symptomatology of OCD may facilitate earlier identification and treatment by clinicians.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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