Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Adults with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder: What Does Self-Report with the OCI-R Tell Us?


Little is known about the symptom profile of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in individuals who have autism spectrum disorders (ASD). It is also unknown whether self-report questionnaires are useful in measuring OCD in ASD. We sought to describe the symptom profiles of adults with ASD, OCD, and ASD + OCD using the Obsessive Compulsive Inventory-Revised (OCI-R), and to assess the utility of the OCI-R as a screening measure in a high-functioning adult ASD sample. Individuals with ASD (n = 171), OCD (n = 108), ASD + OCD (n = 54) and control participants (n = 92) completed the OCI-R. Individuals with ASD + OCD reported significantly higher levels of obsessive-compulsive symptoms than those with ASD alone. OCD symptoms were not significantly correlated with core ASD repetitive behaviors as measured on the ADI-R or ADOS-G. The OCI-R showed good psychometric properties and corresponded well with clinician diagnosis of OCD. Receiver operating characteristic analysis suggested cut-offs for OCI-R Total and Checking scores that discriminated well between ASD + versus -OCD, and fairly well between ASD-alone and OCD-alone. OCD manifests separately from ASD and is characterized by a different profile of repetitive thoughts and behaviors. The OCI-R appears to be useful as a screening tool in the ASD adult population.