The suicidality continuum in a large sample of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) patients

P. Velloso, C. Piccinato, Ygor A. Ferrão, E. Aliende Perin, R. Cesar, L. Fontenelle, A. G. Hounie, Maria C. do Rosário

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Background Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) has a chronic course leading to huge impact in the patient's functioning. Suicidal thoughts and attempts are much more frequent in OCD subjects than once thought before. Aim To empirically investigate whether the suicidal phenomena could be analyzed as a suicidality severity continuum and its association with obsessive–compulsive (OC) symptom dimensions and quality of life (QoL), in a large OCD sample. Methods Cross-sectional study with 548 patients diagnosed with OCD according to the DSM-IV criteria, interviewed in the Brazilian OCD Consortium (C-TOC) sites. Patients were evaluated by OCD experts using standardized instruments including: Yale-Brown Obsessive–Compulsive Scale (YBOCS); Dimensional Yale-Brown Obsessive–Compulsive Scale (DYBOCS); Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventories; Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID); and the SF-36 QoL Health Survey. Results There were extremely high correlations between all the suicidal phenomena. OCD patients with suicidality had significantly lower QoL, higher severity in the “sexual/religious”, “aggression” and “symmetry/ordering” OC symptom dimensions, higher BDI and BA scores and a higher frequency of suicide attempts in a family member. In the regression analysis, the factors that most impacted suicidality were the sexual dimension severity, the SF-36 QoL Mental Health domain, the severity of depressive symptoms and a relative with an attempted suicide history. Conclusions Suicidality could be analyzed as a severity continuum and patients should be carefully monitored since they present with suicidal ideation. Lower QoL scores, higher scores on the sexual dimension and a family history of suicide attempts should be considered as risk factors for suicidality among OCD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • OCD
  • Quality of life
  • Suicidality

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