Severity of subjective cognitive impairment in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression

Steffen Moritz*, Anne Kathrin Kuelz, Dirk Jacobsen, Martin Kloss, Susanne Fricke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has consistently found cognitive impairments in the domains of executive and nonverbal (memory) functioning, particularly in patients with comorbid depressive symptoms. In contrast, little is known about the degree to which such deficits are cognizant to patients or the degree to which these impairments interfere with daily activities. The aim of the present study was to assess prevalence and specificity of subjective cognitive dysfunction in OCD patients. A self-rating scale, the Subjective Neurocognition Inventory (SNI), was administered to 67 OCD patients upon admission to hospital. Forty healthy and 30 depressed participants served as controls. Relative to healthy participants, OCD patients reported greater impairment on SNI subscales measuring psychomotor speed, selective and divided attention. Impairments in the OCD group were particularly pronounced in patients with severe OCD or depressive psychopathology. OCD patients were no more disturbed than depressed participants on any of the domains tested. Memory problems were only reported by a minority of OCD patients-even in patients with checking compulsions. In conjunction with prior studies showing few memory difficulties in non-depressed OCD patients, present findings further challenge the memory deficit hypothesis which claims that checking compulsions are a dysfunctional compensation for real or imagined forgetfulness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-443
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Memory
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Subjective complaints


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