Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 115, Issue 6, pp 929–936 | Cite as

Psychiatric morbidity with focus on obsessive–compulsive disorder in an Israeli cohort of adolescents with mild to moderate mental retardation

  • Doron Gothelf
  • Olga Goraly
  • Sari Avni
  • Mike Stawski
  • Inbar Hartmann
  • Lina Basel-Vanagaite
  • Alan Apter
Biological Child and Adolescent Psychiatry - Original Article


The study evaluated the prevalence of DSM-IV-TR-defined psychiatric disorders in adolescents with mental retardation, with a focus on obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), for which data at present are sparse. Eighty-seven adolescents with mild to moderate mental retardation attending the Israeli special-education system were screened for psychiatric disorders in general and obsessive–compulsive symptoms in particular. Sixty-one percent had at least one psychiatric disorder. Of the 13 participants receiving antipsychotic medication, none had an underlying psychotic disorder and most had anxiety or depressive disorders. OCD was detected in 11% of participants and was characterized by high rates of psychiatric comorbidities. The severity of autistic symptoms predicted 39% of the variance in the severity of OCD symptoms. Adolescents with mild to moderate mental retardation have high rates of psychiatric morbidities that are often inappropriately treated. OCD is prevalent in this population and is strongly associated with autistic symptoms. Further studies are required in adolescents with mental retardation to better delineate psychiatric morbidities and their appropriate treatment in this at-risk population.


Adolescence Mental retardation Intellectual disability Psychiatric disorders Obsessive–compulsive disorder Autism Antipsychotics 



This work was supported by a grant from Shalem Fund for the Development of Services for people with Mental Retardation in the Local Councils in Israel. The authors thank Gloria Ginzach of the Editorial Board, Rabin Medical Center.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Doron Gothelf
    • 1
    • 2
  • Olga Goraly
    • 1
  • Sari Avni
    • 3
  • Mike Stawski
    • 1
  • Inbar Hartmann
    • 4
  • Lina Basel-Vanagaite
    • 2
    • 5
  • Alan Apter
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.The Behavioral Neurogenetics Center, Feinberg Department of Child PsychiatrySchneider Children’s Medical Center of IsraelPetah TikvaIsrael
  2. 2.Sackler Faculty of MedicineTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  3. 3.Lev Ha-Sharon Psychiatric HospitalPardesiaIsrael
  4. 4.Department of PediatricsAsaf Harofe Medical CenterZerifinIsrael
  5. 5.The Raphael Recanati Genetic Institute, Rabin Medical CenterBeilinson Campus and Schneider Children’s Medical Center of IsraelPetah TiqwaIsrael

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