Faculty Books and Book Chapters

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Book Title

Handbook of Conceptualization and Treatment of Child Psychopathology

Document Type

Book Chapter



Publication Date



This chapter delineates obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD is one of the least common anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. However, the intrusive obsessive thoughts and associated compulsive behavior characteristic of this disorder create a debilitating condition in which the severity and time-consuming quality of this behavior can cause significant impairment in every aspect of a child's life, including economic, social, and psychological functioning. The symptoms of OCD in children and adolescents are similar to those found in adults. Obsessions refer to “persistent ideas, thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced as intrusive and inappropriate and that cause marked anxiety or distress.” Childhood OCD seems to follow a chronic course. In young children with OCD, it is common for the principal symptom to change over time. The current conceptualizations of OCD as a neurobehavioral disorder, combined with the fact that every child lives in the context of family, such integrated treatment seems optimal. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is described in the literature as the treatment of choice for children and adolescents with OCD. The use of medication would have been consistent with the neurobehavioral view of OCD, as well as appropriate based on studies of pharmacological treatment of child or adolescent OCD. However, medication alone is not optimally effective and its utility often lies in its ability to decrease symptoms to a level where clients can participate fully in psychological treatment.


Pergamon/Elseview Science, Inc.



First Page


Last Page


Additional Information

H. Orvaschel, J. Faust, & M. Hersen (Eds.)




Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
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