The price of love: An investigation into the relationship between romantic love and the expression of obsessive-compulsive disorder

James McLauchlan, Emma M. Thompson, Ygor A. Ferrão, Euripedes C. Miguel, Lucy Albertella, Donatella Marazziti, Leonardo F. Fontenelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Objective: The present study explored the influence of romantic love on the expression of several OCD characteristics, including symptom severity, symptom dimensions, age at onset, sensory phenomena, and developmental course, as well as other related comorbid disorders. It was hypothesised that love-precipitated OCD would be associated with a set of distinct characteristics and exhibit greater rates of comorbid disorders. Methods: The analyses were performed using a large sample (n = 981) of clinical patients with a primary diagnosis of OCD (Females = 67.3%, M age = 35.31). Results: Love-precipitated OCD was associated with greater severity of sensory phenomena and later age at onset of obsessions. However, symptom severity, symptom dimension, developmental course, and psychiatric comorbidities were not associated with love-precipitated OCD. Conclusion: it was concluded that romantic love does shape the expression of OCD, especially with regards to sensory phenomena and onset age. These findings encourage further exploration to determine its clinical significance as a phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalCNS Spectrums
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 27 May 2021

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