Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society

Neuropsychological profiles of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder: early onset versus late onset

SEON HEE  HWANG  a1 a2 , JUN SOO  KWON  a1 a3 a4 c1 , YONG-WOOK  SHIN  a1 a2 , KYUNG JIN  LEE  a4 , YOUNG YOUN  KIM  a1 a4 and MYUNG-SUN  KIM  a2
a1 Clinical Research Center, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, South Korea
a2 Department of Psychology, Sungshin Women's University, Seoul, Korea
a3 Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
a4 BK21 Life Sciences & Neuroscience Institute, SNU-MRC, Seoul, Korea

Article author query
hwang sh   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
kwon js   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
shin y   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
lee kj   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
kim yy   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
kim m   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


In this study, we assess the neuropsychological profiles of both early and late symptom-onset obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) patients. The early and late-onset OCD patients are compared to the control group with a series of neuropsychological measurements. The late-onset OCD patients exhibited impaired performance on the immediate and the delayed recall conditions of the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test (RCFT) and the letter and category fluency of the Controlled Oral Word Association Test (COWA), compared to the normal controls and the early-onset OCD patients. The controls and early-onset OCD patients did not differ on any of the neuropsychological measurements taken in this study. These results suggest that different neurophysiological mechanisms are in play in early and late-onset OCD patients, and age of onset can serve as a potential marker for the subtyping of OCD. (JINS, 2007, 13, 30–37.)

(Received January 11 2006)
(Revised August 15 2006)
(Accepted August 16 2006)

Key Words: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); Subtype; Age of onset; Neuropsychological functions; Early-onset OCD; Late-onset OCD.

c1 Correspondence and reprint requests to: Dr. Jun Soo Kwon, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University College of Medicine, 28 Yongon-dong, Chongno-gu, Seoul, Korea 110-744. E-mail: