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Preschool and current autistic symptoms in children and adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Journal article
Authors B. Weidle
Karin Melin
Elisabeth Drotz
T. Jozefiak
Tord Ivarsson
Published in Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders
Volume 1
Issue 3
Pages 168-174
ISSN 2211-3649
Publication year 2012
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Pages 168-174
Language en
Keywords Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Autistic traits, Autism spectrum disorders, Childhood Adolescence, behavior checklist, diagnostic interview, spectrum disorders, anxiety, disorder, tic disorders, reliability, validity, scale, traits
Subject categories Basic Medicine


Objective Contemporaneous nosological debates include the presence of an Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorder (OCSD) group incorporating disorders as OCD, Tourette's syndrome, eating and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). If true, we propose, ASD symptoms should occur in the early childhood of OCD patients, show substantial continuity to later childhood and be present in a large proportion of cases. This study explores whether this is the case or not. Methods Paediatric patients with OCD (n=105) according to DSM IV were studied using parent ratings of the Social Communication Questionnaire. A general population group without ASD (n=108) was used to control for ASD symptoms in the normal population. Results ASD symptoms were more common in children with OCD than in controls (m=5.9 versus 3.1; p=.0001). However, few (one in each group) had scores in the clinical range for ASD. Symptom prevalence was low, except for symptoms that could be confused with OCD or tics. The correlation between preschool and current ASD symptoms was low. Conclusion ASD symptoms in OCD as reported here do not support claims about OCD as strongly related to ASD. However, a subgroup of paediatric OCD patients has significant subclinical ASD symptom levels.

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