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Encephale. 1996 May;22 Spec No 1:9-21.

[Modern typology of symptoms and obsessive-compulsive syndromes: results of a large French study of 615 patients].

[Article in French]

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Service hospitalo-universitaire de Santé mentale et de Thérapeutique, Centre hospitalier Sainte-Anne, Paris.



The most common strategy to search for homogenous subgroups of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) patients has been based on the OCD symptoms themselves as a classifying variables. The purpose of this study was to: expand recognition of major clinical OCD subtypes in a large cohort of patients recruited from the national french survey: "Screening-Understanding-Treating OCD"; reproduce preliminary data coming from a US collaborative study on OCD sub-types [Baer L, J Clin Psychiatry, 1994; 55 (3):18-23].


From 731 OCD/OCS (OC disorder or syndromes) patients recruited in the phase 1 of the national french survey, complete collected data on the Y-BOCS Symptom Checklist (YBOCS-CL) were obtained in 615 patients and on the OCD spectrum inventory in 646 patients. Principal components analysis (PCA) was firstly applied on major symptom categories of the YBOCS-CL, and next on each individual symptom. Gender effect on clinical aspects of OCD was also explored by comparative descriptive analysis.


The first PCA on major symptoms categories confirmed the grouping of all categories in three major factors, named as following: Facteur 1 = "Predominantly Compulsive" (loaded with items of symmetry, order, hoarding, repeting, counting, checking); Facteur 2 = "Predominantly Obsessive" (loaded with aggression, violent, religious, sexual obsessions) and Facteur 3 = "Mixed" (with contamination and somatic obsessions and washing compulsions). Our data seemed to be very close to US collaborative study that had found in a sample of 107 OCD patients, the presence of the same three major clinical factors. The second PCA applied on all YBOCS-CL individual items had provided interesting items groupings, suggesting a reorganization and re-labelling of YBOCS-CL symptoms categories. Therefore, a new presentation of the YBOCS-CL can be proposed with a more clinical relevance than the original version. Results from OC spectrum inventory showed high comorbidity rate with many of OCD related disorders. Finally, a gender influence on OC clinical manifestations was observed, especially more severity and higher rate of difficult OC-subtypes in male patients. The french national survey data on OC symptoms sub-typing and clustering showed a "natural" groupings of OC symptom categories which add more validity to the subtypes proposed by ICD-10 (based on syndromal predominance : obsessions, compulsions or mixed). These sub-categories are not part of the DSM III-R, neither of the new version of DSM IV!

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