Background: Patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) frequently show poor social adjustment, which has been associated with OCD severity. Little is known about the effects that age at symptom onset, specific OCD symptoms, and psychiatric comorbidities have on social adjustment. The objective of this study was to investigate the clinical correlates of social functioning in OCD patients. Methods: Cross-sectional study involving 815 adults with a primary DSM-IV diagnosis of OCD participating in the Brazilian Research Consortium on Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders. Patients were assessed with the Social Adjustment Scale, the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short-Form Health Survey, the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale, the Dimensional Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale, and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders. Clinical correlates of social adjustment were assessed with generalized linear models with gamma distribution. Results: Poor overall social functioning was associated with greater OCD severity (p = 0.02); hoarding symptoms (p = 0.004); sexual/religious obsessions (p = 0.005); current major depressive disorder (p = 0.004); current post-traumatic stress disorder (p = 0.002); and current eating disorders (p = 0.02). Poor social adjustment was also associated with impaired quality of life. Conclusions: Patients with OCD have poor social functioning in domains related to personal relationships and professional performance. Hoarding symptoms and sexual/religious obsessions seem to have the strongest negative effects on social functioning. Early age at OCD symptom onset seems to be associated with professional and academic underachievement and impairment within the family unit, whereas current psychiatric comorbidity worsen overall social functioning. In comparison with quality of life, social adjustment measures seem to provide a more comprehensive overview of the OCD-related burden.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The State of Sao Paulo Foundation for Reasearch Support – FAPESP – has provided grants to the leading researchers of this work: Ms. Rosa (#08/57780-0), Dr. Diniz (#06/50273-0), Dr. Miguel (#05/55628-8) and Dr. Shavitt (#06/61459).
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Psychiatric disorders
- Quality of life
- Social functioning