The study of neurogenetic microdeletion syndromes provides an insight into the developmental psychopathology of psychiatric disorders. The aim of the study was to evaluate the prevalence of psychiatric disorders, especially obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), in patients with velocardiofacial syndrome (VCFS), a 22q11 microdeletion syndrome. Forty-three subjects with VCFS of mean age 18.3 ± 10.6 years were comprehensively assessed using semi-structured psychiatric interview and the Yale–Brown obsessive compulsive scale (Y-BOCS). Best estimate diagnoses were made on the basis of information gathered from subjects, parents, teachers, and social workers. Fourteen VCFS subjects (32.6%) met the DSM-IV criteria for OCD. OCD had an early age of onset and generally responded to fluoxetine treatment. It was not related to mental retardation. The most common obsessive-compulsive symptoms were contamination, aggression, somatic worries, hoarding, repetitive questions, and cleaning. Sixteen of the 43 patients (37.2%) had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and 7 (16.2%) had psychotic disorder. The results of our study suggest that there is a strong association between VCFS and early-onset OCD. This finding may be significant in the understanding of the underlying genetic basis of OCD. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.