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Quality of life changes following inpatient and outpatient treatment in obsessive-compulsive disorder: a study with 12 months follow-up

Elisabeth Hertenstein1*, Nicola Thiel1, Nirmal Herbst1, Tobias Freyer1, Christoph Nissen1, Anne Katrin Külz1 and Ulrich Voderholzer12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Freiburg, Hauptstraße 5, 79104, Freiburg, Germany

2 Schön Klinik Roseneck, 83209, Prien am Chiemsee, Germany

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Annals of General Psychiatry 2013, 12:4  doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-4

Published: 22 February 2013



Quality of life (QoL) is increasingly recognized as a critical outcome parameter in mental health studies. The aim of this study was to investigate different domains of the QoL in persons with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) before and after a multimodal, disorder-specific in- and outpatient treatment.


Data of 73 persons with OCD treated in an inpatient setting followed by outpatient treatment were analyzed. The World Health Organization Quality of Life abbreviated (a multidimensional measure of the QoL) and the Beck Depression Inventory were administered prior to (baseline) and 12 months after the inpatient treatment (follow-up).


At baseline, participants reported a significantly diminished psychological, social, physical, and global QoL compared to the German general population. Environmental QoL was not impaired in the present sample. The QoL was significantly improved at follow-up, except for social QoL, but remained below norm values. The QoL improvement was predicted by improvements of depressive symptoms.


The results indicate that persons with OCD suffer from a very low QoL. The QoL was significantly improved after 12 months of intensive state-of-the-art treatment. However, the QoL indices remained considerably lower than population norm values, indicating the need for additional research into novel treatment options for persons with OCD.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder; Quality of life; Cognitive behavioral therapy; Exposure; Inpatient; WHOQOL; Functional impairment