The Zurich Study

XVIII. Obsessive-compulsive disorders and syndromes in the general population
  • Martina Degonda
  • Maja Wyss
  • Jules Angst
Original Articles


The cross-sectional and longitudinal association between obsessive-compulsive syndrome (OCS) and other psychiatric problems and the course over 11 years was examined in a Swiss cohort of young adults. As the prevalence of obsessive-compulsive disorders, defined according to the DSM-III was very low (n=5), we applied a lower diagnostic threshold based on obsessive-compulsive symptoms and social impairment, to define an OCS. The weighted lifetime prevalence rate for OCS at age 30 years was 5.5%. The mean age of onset was 17.1±4.9 years for males, and 19.1±5.1 year for females. OCS was associated with all subtypes of depressive disorders as well as with social phobia and agoraphobia. Although the longitudinal analysis showed no stability at the diagnostical level, there was some stability on the symptom level. Perhaps subjects with OCS learned in time to cope and to live with their symptoms without suffering.

Key words

Obsessive-compulsive syndrome Epidemiology Prevalence rates Comorbidity Course 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martina Degonda
    • 1
  • Maja Wyss
    • 1
  • Jules Angst
    • 1
  1. 1.Research DepartmentPsychiatric University Hospital ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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