Executive functioning in Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


Objective: To assess executive functions in patients with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) compared with healthy controls. Methods: Adults diagnosed with BDD (n=26) or OCD (n=29) according to DSM-5, and healthy controls (n=28) underwent validated and computerized neuropsychological tests; spatial working memory (SWM), Intra- extra dimensional set shifting (IED) and Stop signal task (SST), from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB). Test performance was compared between groups, and correlated to standardized symptom severity of BDD and OCD. Significance level was set to p<0.05. Results: There were no statistically significant between-group differences on key outcome measures in SWM, IED, or SST. There was a weak positive correlation between symptom severity and test errors on SWM and IED in both OCD and BDD groups; increased clinical severity were associated with more errors in these tests. Further, there was a negative correlation between symptom severity and SST in the BDD group. Conclusions: Patients with BDD or OCD did not differ from healthy control subjects in terms of test performance, however there were several statistically significant correlations between symptom severity and performance in those with BDD or OCD. More studies on EF in BDD and OCD are required to elucidate if there are differences in EF between these two disorders.

In medRxiv.