Neuropsychological functioning in youth with obsessive compulsive disorder: An examination of executive function and memory impairment

Adam B. Lewin, Michael J. Larson, Jennifer M. Park, Joseph F. McGuire, Tanya K. Murphy, Eric A. Storch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Preliminary research suggests neuropsychological deficits in youth with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) similar to those in adults; however, small samples and methodological confounds limit interpretation. We aimed to examine the rates and clinical correlates of cognitive sequelae in youth with OCD, focusing on executive functioning and memory abilities. Youth ages 7-17 years with OCD (N=96) completed a hypothesis-driven neuropsychological battery (including the Rey-Osterreith Complex Figure, California Verbal Learning Test, and subtests of the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System and Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning) that primarily assessed executive functioning, memory and processing speed. Cognitive sequelae were identified in 65% of youth (37% using a more stringent definition of impairment). Magnitude of cognitive sequelae was not associated with OCD severity or age; however, greater neuropsychological impairments were found amongst youth prescribed atypical neuroleptics and those diagnosed with comorbid tic disorders. Comorbidity burden was associated with presence of neuropsychological impairment, but was not specific to any single test. Findings suggest that the presence of cognitive sequelae is prevalent amongst treatment-seeking youth with OCD. Deficits were found in executive functioning and non-verbal memory performance but these impairments were not associated with OCD severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-115
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 30 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Executive functioning
  • Memory
  • Neuropsychological impairment
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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