Adverse childhood experiences and gender influence treatment seeking behaviors in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Francesco Benedetti, Sara Poletti, Daniele Radaelli, Elena Pozzi, Chiara Giacosa, Enrico Smeraldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background Exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACE) increases the risk of adult physical and mental health disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and influences adult brain structure and function. ACE could influence the use of psychotropic drugs in adulthood, and treatment seeking behaviors. Methods We assessed the severity of ACE in a sample of 31 healthy controls and 66 patients with OCD who were consecutively referred for hospitalization and were either drug-naïve or drug-treated. In addition, we explored the possible clinical relevance of ACE with two additional analyses: (a) a discriminant function analysis with sex and ACE as factors, and (b) a logistic regression with use of medication as dependent variable and ACE as factor. Results Despite comparable age, years at school, age at onset of illness, duration of illness, and severity of illness (Y-BOCS), adult drug-naïve patients reported lower exposure to ACE and later contacts with mental health professionals than drug-treated. This effect was particularly evident in female patients compared to males. Conclusions The interaction of gender with factors linked with the early familial environment biased access to psychiatric care and use of medication, independent of OCD-associated factors such as severity of symptoms or duration of illness. The need for medications of patients could be higher in families where OCD symptomatology is associated with ACE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-301
Number of pages4
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Volume55
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

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