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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for preadolescent children with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is typically derived from adult cognitive behavioural models of OCD; however, it is unknown whether these adult models apply to preadolescent children. This systematic review examined whether 11 cognitive, behavioural and familial maintenance mechanisms identified from adult cognitive behavioural models of OCD and descriptions of how family factors may maintain OCD applied to preadolescent children with obsessive compulsive symptoms/disorder (OCS/OCD; Prospero:CRD42019153371). PsycINFO, MEDLINE and Web of Science Core Collection were searched in March 2019, with forward citation handsearching conducted in March/April 2020. Twenty-nine studies were synthesised. Studies were identified for only six of the 11 proposed maintenance factors. Of the cognitive and behavioural factors, only inflated responsibility and meta-cognitive beliefs showed evidence of independent and/or specific associations with childhood OCS. Of the family factors, only less frequent displays of parental confidence, positive problem solving and rewarding of children’s independence showed some evidence of specificity to childhood OCD. Notably, findings across studies were inconsistent and existing studies have considerable methodological limitations. Experimental and prospective longitudinal studies are needed to determine whether the proposed factors maintain childhood OCS/OCD, to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of CBT for preadolescent children with OCD.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Experimental Psychopathology

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