Social Rhythm in OCD Similar to Bipolar Disorder

Patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have a similar social rhythmicity compared with patients with other psychiatric disorders, according to research presented at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, held from June 4 to 8, 2022, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Researchers evaluated the regularity and distribution of social rhythm in individuals with clinically significant OCD symptoms and the role of affect and symptom severity in subtypes of OCD.

A total of 19 adult patients with a primary diagnosis of OCD completed the Social Rhythm Metric at home for 7 days. They also completed the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index for measures of sleep, the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule for affect, and the Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory for OCD symptom severity and subtype.

The patients with OCD had a mean social rhythmicity of 3.05 (SD 1.14), which is comparable to that found in patients with bipolar spectrum disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder.

Participants with OCD and delayed bedtimes also had significantly lower social rhythmicity (P = .005) compared with those without delayed bedtimes. Social rhythmicity had a similar correlation among patients with different OCD subtypes and was not strongly correlated with negative affect.

“In the current study, we provide a preliminary characterization of social rhythmicity in those with OCD,” the study authors concluded. “Results suggest that social rhythm may play a role in OCD similar to bipolar disorder and further study is warranted. Overall, this study contributes to burgeoning research into the association between biological rhythms and OCD.”


Pinney E, Boland E, Coles M. A characterization of social rhythms in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Presented at SLEEP 2022; June 4-8; Charlotte, North Carolina. Abstract 693.