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Stop Signal Reaction Time Deficits in a Lifetime Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Sample

  • Nicole C.R. McLaughlin (a1) (a2), Jason Kirschner (a3), Hallee Foster (a2), Chloe O’Connell (a4), Steven A. Rasmussen (a2) and Benjamin D. Greenberg (a1) (a2)...


Objectives: Several studies have found impaired response inhibition, measured by a stop-signal task (SST), in individuals who are currently symptomatic for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The aim of this study was to assess stop-signal reaction time (SSRT) performance in individuals with a lifetime diagnosis of OCD, in comparison to a healthy control group. This is the first study that has examined OCD in participants along a continuum of OCD severity, including approximately half of whom had sub-syndromal symptoms at the time of assessment. Methods: OCD participants were recruited primarily from within the OCD clinic at a psychiatric hospital, as well as from the community. Healthy controls were recruited from the community. We used the stop signal task to examine the difference between 21 OCD participants (mean age, 42.95 years) and 40 healthy controls (mean age, 35.13 years). We also investigated the relationship between SST and measures of OCD, depression, and anxiety severity. Results: OCD participants were significantly slower than healthy controls with regard to mean SSRT. Contrary to our prediction, there was no correlation between SSRT and current levels of OCD, anxiety, and depression severity. Conclusions: Results support prior studies showing impaired response inhibition in OCD, and extend the findings to a sample of patients with lifetime OCD who were not all currently above threshold for diagnosis. These findings indicate that response inhibition deficits may be a biomarker of OCD, regardless of current severity levels. (JINS, 2016, 22, 785–789)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to: Nicole C. McLaughlin, Butler Hospital, 345 Blackstone Blvd., Providence, RI 02906. E-mail:


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Stop Signal Reaction Time Deficits in a Lifetime Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Sample

  • Nicole C.R. McLaughlin (a1) (a2), Jason Kirschner (a3), Hallee Foster (a2), Chloe O’Connell (a4), Steven A. Rasmussen (a2) and Benjamin D. Greenberg (a1) (a2)...


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