Raposo-Lima2020 - The Role of Stress in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, A Narrative Review

Example citation

Stressful life events (e.g., illness, unemployment, harassment and abuse, marital and familial problems) may play a role in the development of OCD and its course, however results to date are inconsistent and studies are often retrospective with potential recall bias [@raposo-lima2020].

Key takeaways

  • Stressful life event examples: illness, unemployment, bereavement, marital and familial problems, sexual harassment.
  • Inconsistent findings regarding the role of stressful life events and OCD onset.
  • Inconsistencies in findings for traumatic events too (sexual/physical abuse, childhood emotional trauma). But retrospective studies with recall bias, i.e. patients’ personal attributions of causality and interpretation.

Despite present evidence leaning toward a positive relationship between traumatic or stressful life events and OCD, most studies on this matter are observational, crosssectional, and retrospective, which limits the identification of both cause-effect relations and vulnerability factors. Most importantly, although stress is now commonly understood as having consequences for pathology, the mechanisms behind such involvement in OCD remain to be defined.