Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Comorbid Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Review of the Research

  • Leman Kaniturk KoseEmail author
  • Lise Fox
  • Eric A. Storch


Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are highly comorbid, precipitating an urgent need to identify evidence-based practices that might be used to address this comorbidity exclusively. The aim of this study was to conduct a review of intervention research and clinical reports to examine the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with individuals who have comorbid ASD and OCD. Based on the pre-determined review inclusion criteria, 11 studies were included in the review: three randomized control trials (RCT), one case controlled study, two single subject experimental designs, and five case studies. These studies offer promising data on the use of CBT interventions for individuals with ASD and comorbid OCD as well as for individuals with OCD and comorbid ASD when standard CBT protocol is enhanced with modifications such as parental involvement, increased use of visuals, personalized treatment metaphors, self-monitoring, positive reinforcement, and use of clear language and instructions. Limitations and implications for future research and practice are discussed.


Cognitive behavioral therapy Obsessive-compulsive disorder Autism spectrum disorders Modifications Comorbidity Evidence-based practices 


Compliance with Ethical Standards


Preparation of this article was supported, in part, by funding from the National Institutes of Health. Treatment of Anxiety in Autism. 1R01HD080096-01A1.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

No informed consent was required for this article.

Conflict of Interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leman Kaniturk Kose
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lise Fox
    • 1
  • Eric A. Storch
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Child & Family StudiesUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsUniversity of South FloridaSt. PetersburgUSA

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