OCD is associated with impaired educational attainment

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a severe psychiatric disorder that usually develops before the age of 25. With such an early onset, the link between OCD and educational outcomes is important to study in order to understand the full impact of OCD.

My colleagues just publised a study in JAMA Psychiatry where they investigated the link between obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and educational achievement in a nationwide study.

Main findings

They found that OCD is associated with a lower probability of entering and completing all levels of education, from compulsory school up until university degrees. OCD diagnosed before the age of 18 had an even larger impact on educational outcomes. They conclude:

“Obsessive-compulsive disorder, particularly when it has an early onset, is associated with a pervasive and profound decrease in educational attainment, spanning from compulsory school to postgraduate education.”

There are a lot of numbers in this article and they may be hard to digest all at once, so I figured I’d try to build a graph that gives the reader a good overview:

As you can see, having OCD is associated with a substantially reduced probability of being eligible for vocational and academic programs in upper secondary school (gymnasium). This pattern continues at the university level, where individuals with OCD are less likely to start and finish studies.

Oskar Flygare
PhD Student in psychology