Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy

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Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy (2010), 38:417-436 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies 2010

Research Article

Generic and Illness-Specific Quality of Life in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Marit Hauschildta1 c1, Lena Jelineka1, Sarah Randjbara1, Birgit Hottenrotta1 and Steffen Moritza1

a1 University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
Article author query
hauschildt m [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
jelinek l [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
randjbar s [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
hottenrott b [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
moritz s [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


Background: Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic and disabling disorder. It profoundly compromises various aspects of patients’ everyday life, thus affecting their quality of life (QoL). Using generic instruments, several studies have confirmed severely impaired health-related QoL in patients diagnosed with OCD. However, there has been a dearth of research on illness-specific QoL. Aims: The present study aimed to further investigate subjective QoL in individuals with OCD with a focus on illness-specific aspects. Method: To assess subjective QoL in a broad OCD sample, an internet survey was conducted with 123 participants with obsessive-compulsive symptoms. The survey comprised both a generic (WHOQOL-BREF) and a novel self-developed OCD-specific QoL measure (QoLOC). Psychopathology was determined with diagnostic standard instruments (self-report forms of: Y-BOCS, OCI-R, BDI-SF). Results: Regression analyses confirmed depression as the best predictor for decreased QoL. In addition, participants reported high despair resulting from OCD-related problems that differed across symptom subtypes. An exploratory factor analysis suggested four domains of OCD-specific problems tapped by the QoLOC: (1) depressiveness in association with OCD; (2) constraints in activities due to OCD symptoms or avoidance; (3) problems with partner and/or family due to OCD symptoms or avoidance; (4) self-concept/coping of own illness. Conclusions: Results produced a comprehensive picture of QoL impairments and their relation to psychopathology in a representative OCD sample. Illness-specific concerns should be further addressed in QoL research in OCD because such problems are not sufficiently mirrored in generic QoL measures.

Keywords:Obsessive-compulsive disorder; OCD; quality of life; internet study; WHOQOL-BREF; illness-specific problems


c1 Reprint requests to Marit Hauschildt, University Medical Center Hamburg Eppendorf, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Martinistraße 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany. E-mail: