We investigated whether patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder have poorer memory and executive functions than healthy controls.
The relatively inconsistent previous findings on this question reflect a lack of well-matched control groups, the inclusion of patients with comorbidity, and the use of noncomparable neuropsychological tests to assess memory and executive functions.
We used well-accepted neuropsychological tests of memory and executive functions to assess 42 patients who had obsessive-compulsive disorder without comorbidity, and 42 healthy controls. We matched the patients and controls pairwise by sex, age, and years of education.
The patients performed significantly worse than the controls on the Rey Complex Figure Test, which assesses visuospatial memory and organizational skills. This group difference remained after we controlled for age, education, intelligence, and severity of depressive symptoms.
The findings indicate that patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder may have impaired visuospatial memory and organizational skills, and these impairments should be considered in treatment.