Comorbidity and treatment response in pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder

A pilot study of group cognitive-behavioral treatment

Lara Farrell*, Allison Waters, Ella Milliner, Thomas Ollendick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Citations (Scopus)


This pilot study evaluated the effectiveness of group cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) on treatment outcomes for children and adolescents who presented with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and complex comorbid conditions, including depression, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and pervasive developmental disorders (PDD). Specifically, the impact of comorbidity on treatment response rates and remission rates was examined. Forty-three youth (aged 7-17) with OCD participated in group family-based CBT. Assessments were conducted at pre- and post-treatment and 6 months. Eighty-six percent of youth presented with a secondary psychiatric disorder, and 74% presented with a tertiary psychiatric condition. Contrary to the expected, comorbidity was not associated with poorer treatment outcomes at post-assessment. At longer term follow-up (6 months), however, treatment outcomes were poorer for youth with multiple comorbid conditions and for those with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The finding that group CBT is largely effective for youth with comorbid conditions is of clinical and practical significance. Group delivery of CBT provides an efficient and cost-effective approach, and alleviates strain on services and service providers. Continued efforts are needed to improve long-term outcomes for youth with multiple comorbid conditions and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Examining treatment response as a function of comorbidity with larger clinical samples is important to extend this research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-123
Number of pages9
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • OCD
  • Children
  • Youth
  • Treatment response
  • Group CBT
  • Comorbidity

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