Childhood Cues Lead to OCD in Adults

Prior research into obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has found it very difficult to conclusively prove the link between hypersensitivity and excessive ritual behavior; much of the work seems to suggest it, but there was never any statistical explicit link. Now, thanks to two studies conducted by Tel Aviv University, scientists have a much stronger understanding of the correlation between sensory processing and ritual behavior in childhood, and how those relate to OCD symptoms in adults.

In the first study, 61 parents were administered the CRI, which measures compulsive behavior in their children on a scale for both intensity and frequency. The children were given a shortened version of the Screen for Child Anxiety-Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED), which measures trait-anxiety based on five factors. They were also subjected to the Sensory Profile, measuring the sensory response to everyday stimuli.

Comparing ritualism, as measured by the CRI, to sensitivity, researchers found significant overlap. Even when anxiety was compensated for, the correlation was "moderate and significant, indicating that hypersensitivity was correlated with ritualism beyond a correlation with anxiety".

The second study was Internet-based and again measured compulsive, ritualistic OCD behaviors, trait anxiety, and hypersensitivity. The results corroborate those of the first study, showing sensitivity tied to obsessive-compulsive symptoms beyond what their link to anxiety would suggest.

Both studies were not without weaknesses; the first required indirect measurement of sensitivity and the second depended on the correct recollection of generic childhood behavior. Even so, the researchers involved believe their work explicitly demonstrates a link and will warrant future study.

The complete studies will appear in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry.

Source: Med Page Today
Photo: Pixabay

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