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Temperament Traits in Pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Relation to Tourette Syndrome and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Psychopathology 2024 January 30
INTRODUCTION: Pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and Tourette syndrome (TS) are often concurrent. This study explores the temperament profile of complex OCD phenotypes.

METHODS: A clinical registry recorded demographic data, psychiatric diagnoses, and temperament traits, including novelty seeking (exploratory behaviors), harm avoidance (fear of uncertainty), reward dependence (sentimentality), and persistence (perseverance). Temperament data were accrued from the Junior Temperament and Character Inventory (JTCI). Participants were divided into (1) OCD only; (2) OCD+ADHD or TS; and (3) OCD+ADHD+TS to compare temperament.

RESULTS: Participants include 126 youths with OCD (61.9% male, 88.9% white) between the ages 6 and 18 years (12.7 ± 3.1). Among the three groups, the complex neurodevelopmental disorder group OCD+ADHD+TS expresses the highest novelty seeking and lowest persistence. Harm avoidance is increased in all groups compared to reference controls, irrespective of concurrent ADHD or TS. For the OCD+ADHD+TS group, contamination and washing symptoms have higher novelty seeking (p < 0.01), while counting and ordering have lower novelty seeking (p < 0.05). Harm avoidance is increased with aggressive, somatic, and checking symptoms in OCD only (p < 0.01), while persistence is increased with repeating and counting symptoms in the comorbid groups (OCD+ADHD or TS, OCD+ADHD+TS).

DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION: The complex subtype, OCD+ADHD+TS, is associated with high novelty seeking and low persistence, while high harm avoidance is linked to pediatric OCD irrespective of ADHD or TS co-occurrence. In sum, pediatric OCD with ADHD and TS confers a unique temperament profile, further refining complex phenotypes of pediatric OCD for future research.

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