Systematic review of environmental risk factors for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A proposed roadmap from association to causation.

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Brander G, Vigil AP, Larsson H, Mataix-Cols D,

Brander G, Vigil AP, Larsson H, Mataix-Cols D, (click to view)

Brander G, Vigil AP, Larsson H, Mataix-Cols D,


Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews 2016 3 21() pii 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.03.011

To synthesize the current knowledge on possible environmental risk factors for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

We conducted a systematic review following PRISMA guidelines. The Embase, PubMed and Scopus databases were searched up until October 6, 2015, employing relevant keywords and MeSH terms.

128 studies met inclusion criteria. Potential environmental risk factors for OCD have been identified in the broad areas of perinatal complications, reproductive cycle, and stressful life events. There is limited evidence regarding other potential risk factors, such as parental age, season of birth, socioeconomic status, parental rearing practices, infections, traumatic brain injury, substance use or vitamin deficiency. In general, studies were of limited methodological quality.

At present, no environmental risk factors have convincingly been associated with OCD. We propose a roadmap for future studies, consisting of longitudinal, population-based research, employing quasi-experimental family and twin designs to identify risk factors that are not only associated with the disorder but also contribute to its causation either directly or moderating the effect of genes.

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