Causal factors for obsessive-compulsive disorder are still unknown

February 5, 2024

Studies examining potential risk factors for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have identified both biological and environmental variables. Yet, the unique contribution of each identified variables was relatively small. This suggests that more research is needed to understand how OCD develops. In particular, studies identifying additional modifiable risk factors will be particularly helpful in informing and guiding the development of preventive interventions.

Still, research on protective factors for OCD is also beginning to emerge. For example, a prospective study in a representative sample of 515 adolescents identified one modifiable protective factor. Specifically, having higher emotional stability was associated with having fewer OCD symptoms in adolescence. (Emotional stability was defined as the ability to regulate emotions, or maintain a balanced affect over time.) For more information, see Vol. 16, No. 1 of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly.