Incidence of obsessive-compulsive disorder in a community sample of young adolescents

Laura A. Valleni-Basile, Carol Z. Garrison, Jennifer L. Waller, Cheryl L. Addy, Robert E. McKeown, Kirby L. Jackson, Steven P. Cuffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate the incidence, transition probabilities, and risk factors for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and subclinical OCD in adolescents. Method: A two-stage epidemiological study originally designed to investigate depression was conducted between 1987 and 1989 in the southeastern United States. For the screening, 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 was administered to 488 mother- child pairs. Baseline screening and diagnostic data from the first year the subject completed an interview and follow-up diagnostic data from subsequent years were used. Results: The 1-year incidence rates of OCD and subclinical OCD were found to be 0.7% and 8.4%, respectively. Transition probabilities demonstrated a pattern of moving from more severe to less severe categories. Of those with baseline OCD, 17% had the diagnosis of OCD at follow-up; 62% moved to the referent group. Of those with baseline subclinical OCD, 1.5% had OCD at follow-up and 75% moved to the referent group. Black race (odds ratio [OR] = 23.38), age (OR = 4.02), desirable life events (OR = 0.78), undesirable life events (OR = 1.21), and socioeconomic status (OR not estimable) were significant predictors of incident OCD. Age (OR = 2.30), desirable life events (OR = 0.92), and undesirable life events (OR = 1.13) were significantly associated with incident subclinical OCD. Conclusion: An initial diagnosis of subclinical OCD was not significantly predictive of a diagnosis of OCD at 1-year follow-up. The overall morbidity remained higher at follow-up in the baseline OCD group than in the baseline subclinical OCD group. The baseline subclinical OCD group was more dysfunctional at follow- up than was the baseline referent group. Further research concerning differences in symptomatology and impairment between OCD and subclinical OCD is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)898-906
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescent
  • incidence
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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