Separation anxiety disorder in OCD

Megan M. Mroczkowski, Fernando S. Goes, Mark A. Riddle, Marco A. Grados, O. Joseph Bienvenu, Benjamin D. Greenberg, Abby J. Fyer, James T. McCracken, Scott L. Rauch, Dennis L. Murphy, James A. Knowles, John Piacentini, Bernadette Cullen, Steven A. Rasmussen, Daniel A. Geller, David L. Pauls, Kung Yee Liang, Gerald Nestadt, Jack F. Samuels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: A history of separation anxiety disorder (SAD) is frequently reported by patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The purpose of this study was to determine if there are clinical differences between OCD-affected individuals with, versus without, a history of SAD. Methods: Using data collected during the OCD Collaborative Genetic Study, we studied 470 adult OCD participants; 80 had a history of SAD, whereas 390 did not.These two groups were compared as to onset and severity of OCD, lifetime prevalence of Axis I disorders, and number of personality disorder traits. Results: OCD participants with a history of SAD were significantly younger than the non-SAD group (mean, 34.2 versus 42.2 years; P<.001). They had an earlier age of onset of OCD symptoms (mean, 8.0 versus 10.5 years; P<.003) and more severe OCD, as measured by the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (mean, 27.5 versus 25.0; P<.005). In addition, those with a history of SAD had a significantly greater lifetime prevalence of agoraphobia (odds ratio (OR)=2.52, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.4-4.6, P<.003), panic disorder (OR=1.84, CI=1.03-3.3 P<.04), social phobia (OR=1.69, CI 1.01-2.8, P<.048), after adjusting for age at interview, age at onset of OCD, and OCD severity in logistic regression models. There was a strong relationship between the number of dependent personality disorder traits and SAD (adjusted OR=1.42, CI=1.2-1.6, P<.001). Conclusions: A history of SAD is associated with anxiety disorders and dependent personality disorder traits in individuals with OCD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-262
Number of pages7
JournalDepression and anxiety
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • Separation anxiety disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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