Four-year course of quality of life and obsessive–compulsive disorder

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Objective: Patients with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) have high disease burden. It is important to restore quality of life (QoL) in treatment, so that patients become able to live a fulfilling life. Little is known about the longitudinal course of QoL in patients with OCD, its association with remission from OCD, and about factors that contribute to an unfavourable course of QoL in remitting patients. Methods: Study on the 4-year course of QoL of patients with chronic (n = 144), intermittent (n = 22), and remitting OCD (n = 73) using longitudinal data of the Netherlands Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Association (NOCDA; complete data: n = 239; imputed data n = 382). The EuroQol five-dimensional questionnaire (EQ-5D) utility score was used to assess QoL. In patients with remitting OCD, we examined patient characteristics that contributed to an unfavourable course of QoL, including sociodemographics, OCD characteristics, psychiatric comorbidity, and personality traits. Results: Course of QoL was associated with course of OCD. QoL improved in those who remitted from OCD; however, even in these patients, QoL remained significantly below the population norms. The correlation between QoL and severity of OCD was only moderate: r = − 0.40 indicating that other factors besides OCD severity contribute to QoL. In remitters, more severe anxiety and depression symptoms were related to a lower QoL. Results were similar in complete and imputed data sets. Conclusions: Remission from OCD is associated with improvement of QoL, but comorbid anxiety and depression symptoms hamper the improvement of QoL. QoL could be improved by reducing OCD symptoms in patients with OCD and by treating comorbid anxiety and depression symptoms in remitting patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)989-1000
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number8
Early online date1 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • Longitudinal
  • OCD
  • Obsessive–compulsive disorder
  • QoL
  • Quality of life

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