Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment (Apr 2018)

Does higher severity really correlate with a worse quality of life in obsessive–compulsive disorder? A meta-regression

  • Pozza A,
  • Lochner C,
  • Ferretti F,
  • Cuomo A,
  • Coluccia A

Journal volume & issue
Vol. Volume 14
pp. 1013 – 1023


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Andrea Pozza,1 Christine Lochner,2 Fabio Ferretti,1 Alessandro Cuomo,3 Anna Coluccia1 1Department of Medical Sciences, Surgery and Neurosciences, Santa Maria alle Scotte University Hospital of Siena, Siena, Italy; 2SU/UCT MRC Unit on Anxiety and Stress Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa; 3Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Siena School of Medicine and Department of Mental Health, University of Siena Medical Center (AOUS), Siena, Italy Background: Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is one of the leading causes of disability and reduced quality of life (QOL), with impairment in a number of domains. However, there is a paucity of literature on the association between severity of OCD symptoms and QOL, and the data that do exist are inconsistent. In addition, the role of severity in QOL has not been summarized as yet from a cross-generational perspective (ie, across childhood/adolescence and adulthood). Through meta-regression techniques, the current study summarized evidence about the moderator role of severity of OCD symptoms on differences in global QOL between individuals with OCD and controls. Methods: Online databases were searched, and cross-sectional case–control studies comparing participants of all ages with OCD with controls on self-report QOL measures were included. Random-effect meta-regression techniques were used to comment on the role of illness severity in global QOL in individuals with OCD. Results: Thirteen studies were included. A positive significant association emerged between OCD severity and effect sizes on global QOL: in samples with higher severity, there were narrower differences in QOL between patients with OCD and controls than in samples with lower severity. Such positive association was confirmed by a sensitivity analysis conducted on studies including only adults, where the difference in QOL ratings between patients and controls was significantly narrower when OCD severity was higher. Conversely, a negative association between severity and QOL was found in those studies including only children/adolescents, where the difference in QOL was significantly larger between patients and controls when OCD severity was higher. Conclusion: QOL remains an important issue to address in the management of OCD in all age groups, irrespective of illness severity. Even in those with lower severity ratings, QOL may be considered as an important marker of treatment response. Keywords: obsessive–compulsive disorder, quality of life, systematic review, symptoms severity, well-being, meta-regression