Background: Identification of familial, more homogenous characteristics of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may help to define relevant subtypes and increase the power of genetic and neurobiological studies of OCD. While factor-analytic studies have found consistent, clinically meaningful OCD symptom dimensions, there have been only limited attempts to evaluate the familiality and potential genetic basis of such dimensions. Methods: Four hundred eighteen sibling pairs with OCD were evaluated using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV and the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (YBOCS) Symptom Checklist and Severity scales. Results: After controlling for sex, age, and age of onset, robust sib-sib intraclass correlations were found for two of the four YBOCS factors: Factor IV (hoarding obsessions and compulsions (p = .001) and Factor I (aggressive, sexual, and religious obsessions, and checking compulsions; p = .002). Smaller, but still significant, familiality was found for Factor III (contamination/cleaning; p = .02) and Factor II (symmetry/ordering/arranging; p = .04). Limiting the sample to female subjects more than doubled the familiality estimates for Factor II (p = .003). Among potentially relevant comorbid conditions for genetic studies, bipolar I/II and major depressive disorder were strongly associated with Factor I (p < .001), whereas ADHD, alcohol dependence, and bulimia were associated with Factor II (p < .01). Conclusions: Factor-analyzed OCD symptom dimensions in sibling pairs with OCD are familial with some gender-dependence, exhibit relatively specific relationships to comorbid psychiatric disorders and thus may be useful as refined phenotypes for molecular genetic studies of OCD.
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
- symptom dimensions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biological Psychiatry