1994 OCF Grant

Are children of adults with OCD at greater risk? Investigating the genetics of OCD

Donald W. Black, MD & Gary R. Gaffney, MD

The University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA)

Award Amount: $25,000

At the time of this grant, research into genetic factors underlying OCD and its comorbidities was still novel. The team led by Drs. Black and Gaffney investigated whether children of parents with OCD are likely to develop OCD or related disorders, such as Tourette syndrome and tic disorders, as well as whether they had a higher likelihood of developing anxiety and depression. To assess whether children of adults with OCD are at a higher risk, The team analyzed 21 adults with OCD and their children to assess whether children of adults with OCD are at a higher risk of developing OCD themselves; children were reassessed two years later. The results of this study found that children of parents with OCD were more likely to develop a variety of social, emotional, and behavioral disorders, including OCD. At the two-year follow-up, a potential diagnosis of OCD in children was associated with female gender of the parent with OCD, family dysfunction, and high emotional and behavioral  symptoms in children.


Resulting Publication:

*Black, D.W., Gaffney, G.R., Schlosser, S., & Gabel, J. (2003). Children of parents with obsessive-compulsive disorder: A 2-year follow-up study. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 107, 305-313.  doi:10.1034/j.1600-0447.2003.02182.x