Obsessive-compulsive disorder and the impulsivity-compulsivity disorder spectrum: A review of research

Michael L. Sulkowski, Amy Mariaskin, Cary Jordan, Eric A. Storch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


This paper reviews research on the association between obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders (OCSDs). Since a unidimensional impulsivity-compulsivity dimension has been proposed to classify OCSDs (Bartz and Hollander, 2006), consisting of "compulsive" or anxiety-driven disorders such as OCD on one end of the spectrum and impulse-control disorders (ICDs) on the other end, research on relationships between OCD and various OCSDs has been reviewed to determine if data exist to support a continuous impulsive-compulsive disorder spectrum. Disorders are compared with respect to the following criteria: 1) degrees of co-occurring behaviors and symptomology, 2) phenotypic associations (including comorbidity and familial linkages), 3) neurological and brain-based similarities, and 4), identified response patterns to psychological and medical treatments. In general, there is limited support for a unified impulsivity-compulsivity dimension that includes OCD as a central disorder. However, considerably stronger evidence exists for a narrower cluster of anxiety-driven OCSDs that are characterized by obsessive-compulsive features and body image/sensitization obsessions (e.g., OCD, body dysmorphic disorder, hypochondriasis).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationImpulsivity
Subtitle of host publicationCauses, Control and Disorders
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9781607419518
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • General Medicine


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