Are different stressful or traumatic life events related to types of obsessive-compulsive and related disorders? An online study

Leonardo F. Fontenelle, Louise Destrée, Mary-Ellen Brierley, Emma M. Thompson, Murat Yücel, Lucy Albertella

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Background: In this online study, we investigated whether different stressful life events (SLEs) were associated with specific types of obsessive-compulsive and related disorders (OCRDs) independently from compulsive traits and family history of OCRDs. Methods: 774 adult participants completed online questionnaires assessing socio-demographic information, family history, trait compulsivity (Cambridge-Chicago Compulsivity Trait Scale), OCRDs symptom severities, and SLEs events thought to precipitate OCRDs. Results: Different types of SLEs thematically related to specific OCRDs were associated with the presence of clinical obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms, hoarding disorder symptoms and skin picking disorder symptoms independently from compulsivity and family history of OCRDs. However, SLEs were not related to body dysmorphic disorder symptoms or trichotillomania symptoms. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that SLEs or trauma thematically related to OCRDs tend to be differentially represented at the onset of symptoms of these disorders, and that its effect can be independent from family history and personality traits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100170
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders Reports
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Compulsive behavior
  • Hoarding
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Personality disorder
  • Psychological trauma

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