Clinical characteristics and comorbidity associated with female gender in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Beatrice Benatti, Laura Celebre, Nicolaja Girone, Alberto Priori, Antonio Bruno, Caterina Viganò, Eric Hollander, Bernardo Dell'Osso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a heterogeneous condition characterized by largely variable phenotypic expressions. Previous findings suggested that gender may be a relevant factor in mediating this heterogeneity. The present study aimed at exploring gender differences in a large clinical sample of Italian OCD patients. Methods: Socio-demographic and clinical variables of a sample of 229 consecutive OCD outpatients were included in a common database. Patients were assessed through structured clinical interviews, the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) and the Clinical Global Impression (CGI) scale. Results: Female OCD patients were more likely than males to have lifetime psychiatric comorbidities (72.6% vs 56.9%; p < 0.05), poly-comorbidities being twice as high compared to males. The female group also showed a significant later onset of symptoms (63.7% vs 44.8%; p < 0.005) and a higher age at first treatment (30.98 ± 13.1 years vs 27.81 ± 11.3; p < 0.005). Moreover, the female subgroup presented higher rates of cleaning and washing compulsions, compared to the male subgroup (28.7% vs 12.6% in the male group; p < 0.005). Conclusions: The current study supports the notion that OCD in female gender is frequently a comorbid condition with other specific clinical characteristics compared to male patients. These findings should be considered in epidemiologic and therapeutic perspectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-214
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Comorbidity
  • Gender
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Onset

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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