Neurocognitive impairment does not predict treatment outcome in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Steffen Moritz*, Martin Kloss, Dirk Jacobsen, Susanne Fricke, Cuttler Carrie Cuttler, Stefanie Brassen, Iver Hand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


There is conflicting evidence pertaining to whether or not neurocognitive task performance at baseline predicts treatment response in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In the present study, we administered a set of executive neurocognitive tests with a putative sensitivity for treatment outcome to a sample of 138 OCD patients. Additionally, subjective neurocognitive dysfunction was determined via a questionnaire. All patients participated in a cognitive-behavioural treatment program (CBT). Results showed that responders (n=73) did not differ from non-responders (n=65) on any of the parameters except for decreased performance on the delayed alternation test (p<.1, effect size:. 61). A subsidiary analysis revealed that slowing on the Trail-Making Test A and an enhanced rate of perserveration errors on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test predicted poor outcome for the treatment of compulsions. It is concluded that neurocognitive impairment does not represent a reliable early warning sign for non-response to CBT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-819
Number of pages9
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Frontal lobe
  • Neuropsychology
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Outcome


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