The relationship between childhood trauma and the severity of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
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There is widespread support for the relationship between childhood trauma and psychiatric morbidity in adulthood. However the association with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has not been studied frequently. It was hypothesized that there is a positive correlation between childhood trauma, distinguished in sexual, physical, emotional abuse, and physical and emotional neglect, and severity of OCD in adulthood. Besides, we expected the association between childhood trauma and OCD to be at least partly accounted for by co-occurring anxiety or depression, OCD cognitions, personality characteristics and other comorbidity. The data for the present study (N = 281) were obtained from the Netherlands Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Association (NOCDA) study, an ongoing multi-centre 6-year longitudinal naturalistic cohort study on the course of OCD. To establish OCD and other current DSM-IV axis I disorders, SCID-I/P was used. Childhood trauma is assessed retrospectively using the Jeugd Vragenlijst, the Dutch version of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ). Pearson correlation indicated that sexual abuse was found to be the only form of abuse having a small but significant correlation with OCD severity. Multivariable regression analyses showed OCD cognitions, neuroticism, number of current diagnoses, anxiety and depression to fully mediate the association between sexual abuse and OCD severity. Only depression remained significant when taking the mediating factors into account altogether. The absence of a direct relationship between childhood trauma and OCD severity may indicate a different etiology for OCD than depression or anxiety. The present study is an initial first step towards evaluating the association between different forms of childhood trauma and the severity of OCD.