Phenomenology of Comorbid Autism Spectrum and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Among Children

  • Adam B. Lewin
  • Jeffrey J. Wood
  • Sarah Gunderson
  • Tanya K. Murphy
  • Eric A. Storch
Original Article


The occurrence of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in youth with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is common (37% prevalence or higher) and results in additional distress and impairment. The phenomenology of OCD in youth with ASD is under-researched to date. This study compared the clinical characteristics of youth with comorbid ASD and OCD (ASD + OCD) with age and gender matched controls with OCD in 70 youth (7–13 years old). Youth with both syndromes did not present with more severe OCD symptoms. Obsessive-compulsive symptom severity and total number of obsessions and compulsions between the ASD + OCD group and the OCD group did not differ statistically. However, group differences in reports of specific OCD symptoms as well as patterns of comorbidity were identified. Attention deficit/hyperactivity symptoms, social phobia, and separation anxiety disorder were more common among youth with ASD + OCD. Better understanding of OCD/ASD co-morbidity may facilitate treatment development.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder Autism Autism spectrum disorder Comorbidity Children Asperger syndrome OCD 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam B. Lewin
    • 1
  • Jeffrey J. Wood
    • 2
  • Sarah Gunderson
    • 1
  • Tanya K. Murphy
    • 1
  • Eric A. Storch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of South Florida College of Medicine, Rothman Center for NeuropsychiatrySt. PetersburgUSA
  2. 2.School of Education and Information StudiesUniversity of California Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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