Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms as a Risk Factor for Suicidality in U.S. College Students

Ilana Huz, Maren Nyer, Claire Dickson, Amy Farabaugh, Jonathan Alpert, Maurizio Fava, Lee Baer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Purpose The purpose of this study was to assess the association of obsessive-compulsive symptoms (OCS) with suicide risk among college students. Methods Subjects were 474 college students who attended mental health screenings at two private universities and completed multiple self-report questionnaires. Results Presence of one or more OCS was associated with an increased odds ratio of suicide risk of approximately 2.4, although this was no longer a significant risk factor when controlling for depressive symptoms. Of the OCS assessed, only obsessions about speaking or acting violently remained an independent risk factor for suicidality over and above depression. Conclusions Although our study was cross-sectional in nature and thus cannot determine causality, increased burden of particular OCS symptom clusters, such as violent or aggressive obsessions, may increase risk among college students, for suicidal ideation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-484
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • College students
  • Mental health screening
  • Obsessive-compulsive symptoms
  • Suicidality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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