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Neurocognition in Pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

This two-part study will identify OCD risk markers to improve prediction models and earlier identification of the condition, and to improve treatment strategies.


OCD can interfere with key aspects of neurodevelopment. We know the following:

  • OCD groups show brain structure and functional differences compared with typically developing individuals
  • CO-OCD has notably higher heritability rates than does adult OCD
  • Siblings are at a 10-fold increased risk for OCD

Despite international efforts, risk and resilience factors in CO-OCD remain elusive.

In Phase I of this study, we examine the neurocognitive functioning of children and youth with OCD, their siblings, and healthy participants. In Phase II, we look at the health status and quality of life of the participants in Phase I after five years.

Study procedures

Phase I

All participants are screened, and their parents interviewed using the Anxiety Disorder Interview Schedule (ADIS). In the week prior to the study appointment, each participant and a parent will complete questionnaires using REDCap. These questionnaires will be BRIEF-SR and FOCI-SR/CY-BOCS for participants, and the BRIEF-PR and questions on academic background and medication and treatment history for parents.

The study appointment will require a 90-minute to three-hour commitment, depending on participant group and selection of optional study components. A certified school psychologist and experienced research assistants will conduct the assessment using the following tools:

  • The Tanner scale of physical development
  • The Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence, Second Edition (WASI-II)
  • Selected tests from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB, Cambridge Cognition)
  • The A-State scale from the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children (STAIC; ages 10-14) or the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI; ages 15-18)
  • Bias Against Disconfirmatory Evidence (BADE)
  • The Cambridge Neurological Inventory (CNI)
  • The University of Sao Paulo's Sensory Phenomena Scale (USP-SPS)
  • Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement, Second Edition (KTEA-3)

If requested, a written report with assessment results will be mailed to the families.

Phase II

The ADIS diagnostic interview will be with the parent or with the now-adult participant. REDCap questionnaires, including additional OCD-related measures, will be sent before the appointment. In the in-person neurocognitive assessment, all three groups will complete the same assessment battery completed in Phase I. A report written by a certified school psychologist will be provided upon request.

Potential benefits

Phase I

Our findings will help us understand the neurocognitive aspects that may influence OCD-affected children/youth. This can lead to better treatment and a better knowledge of the heritability of cognitive traits in OCD.

Phase II

The study will enable crucial information on the interplay between risk and resiliency factors, brain development, and CO-OCD. This will simplify earlier identification of the condition and improve treatment.

SOURCE: Neurocognition in Pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) ( )
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