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Keywords:

  • obsessive–compulsive disorder;
  • children;
  • adolescents;
  • follow-up

Objective:  To study the long-term course and outcome of juvenile obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD).

Method:  Two to 9-year follow-up of largely self-referred, drug-naïve subjects (n = 58) by employing catch-up longitudinal design.

Results:  The mean follow-up period was 5 years. Nearly three-fourth of the sample was adequately treated with medications. Only 21% of the subjects had clinical OCD at follow-up and 48% were in true remission (no OCD and not on treatment). Earlier age-at-onset was associated with better course and outcome.

Conclusion:  Juvenile OCD has favorable outcome. Our findings are applicable to psychiatric hospital settings in India and perhaps to the general psychiatric settings in the Western countries. Whether the better outcome in this sample is the result of differing clinical characteristics or because of true cross-cultural variation in the course needs further exploration. It is speculated that early onset OCD could be a subtype of juvenile OCD with better outcome.