Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-dnltx Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-17T23:30:14.630Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Cross-National Epidemiology of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 November 2014


Our knowledge of the prevalence and demographic and clinical characteristics of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has, until recently, been based almost exclusively on patient samples. The epidemiology of OCD was first described in a large United States household sample from the Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) study. Since these original observations, the rates of OCD in household populations determined from diagnostic procedures similar to those used in the United States have been published from different parts of the world. Detailed comparisons of rates, sex ratios, age at onset, and demographic and clinical characteristics of OCD in these samples are now available.

This article reports on the cross-national epidemiology of OCD from seven international epidemiologic surveys, including the United States ECA study. Each survey used the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS), a highly structured interview, developed for use in epidemiologic surveys, that yields Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition (DSM-III) psychiatric diagnoses. All investigators provided the data from their study to be pooled at Columbia University, and the prevalence rates were standardized to the age and sex distribution of the five-site ECA household population so that more precise estimates and comparisons could be made.

Supplement Monograph
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1998

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



1.Karno, M, Golding, JM, Sorenson, SB, et al.The epidemiology of obsessive-compulsive disorder in five US communities. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1988;45:10941099.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
2.Karno, M, Golding, JM. Obsessive-compulsive disorder. In: Robins, LN, Regier, DA, eds. Psychiatric Disorders in America: The Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study. New York: Free Press; 1991:204219.Google Scholar
3.Robins, LN, Helzer, JE, Croughan, JL, et al.The NIMH Diagnostic Interview Schedule: its history, characteristics, and validity. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1981;38:381389.Google Scholar
4.Weissman, MM, Bland, RC, Canino, GJ, et al.The cross national epidemiology of obsessive-compulsive disorder. J Clin Psychiatry. 1994;55(3, suppl):510.Google Scholar
5.Valleni-Basile, LA, Garrison, CZ, Jackson, KL, et al.Frequency of obsessive-compulsive disorder in a community sample of young adults. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatr. 1994;33:782791.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
6.Hollander, E, Greenwald, S, Neville, D, Johnson, J, Hornig, CD, Weissman, MM. Uncomplicated and comorbid obsessive-compulsive disorder in an epidemiologic sample. Depression and Anxiety. 1996/1997;4:111119.3.0.CO;2-J>CrossRefGoogle Scholar
7.Hollander, E, Schiffman, E, Cohen, B, et al.Signs of central nervous system dysfunction in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1990;47:2732.Google Scholar
8.Hollander, E, DeCaria, CM, Aronowitz, B, Klein, DF, Liebowitz, MR, Shaffer, D. A pilot follow-up study of childhood soft-signs and the development of adult psychopathology. J Neuropsychiatr Clin Neurosci. 1991;3:186189.Google Scholar