Executive function predicts cognitive-behavioral therapy response in childhood obsessive-compulsive disorder

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is considered first-line treatment for childhood obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Despite CBT's efficacy, too many children and adolescents do not fully respond to treatment, making the identification of predictors of treatment response highly relevant. Executive functions (EF) have been suggested to constitute such predictors, but studies with pediatric samples are scarce. In the present study, we investigated latent level EF test performance and ratings of daily life EF behavior as predictors of CBT response in pediatric OCD. We further examined the stability of EF from pre-to post-treatment and the association of EF changes with OCD severity change. EF test performance significantly predicted exposure-based CBT outcome. Patients with better EF test performance had significantly elevated risk of non-response relative to patients with poorer performance. Daily life EF behavior in OCD probands improved after treatment relative to controls. The findings suggest that EF performance impacts CBT outcome, and that exposure-based CBT is well-suited for children and adolescents with OCD and poorer EF test performance. This study supports the relevance of EF in CBT for childhood OCD and denotes a possible need for development of enhanced treatments for children and adolescents with OCD and superior EF performance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Pages (from-to)11-18
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

    Research areas

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Executive function, Cognitive-behavioral therapy, Children, Adolescents

ID: 189352415