Child & Adolescent Anxiety Research


Youth OCD Study

We are recruiting 8-17 year olds with OCD for a 12-week sertraline and brain imaging study. The purpose of this study is to explore the effects of sertraline on brain circuitry in children and adolescents with OCD. Participants with OCD will receive no-cost, study related appointments with a child/adolescent psychiatrist. The study is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and led by child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Gail Bernstein.

What is OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by unwanted and intrusive thoughts, images, or urges (obsessions), and/or repetitive, ritualized behaviors (compulsions). OCD affects 1-3% of children and adolescents.  

The following are common types of obsessions:

  • Contamination (e.g., concern with dirt, germs, or illness)
  • Aggression (e.g., fear of harm coming to oneself or a loved one)
  • Forbidden thoughts (e.g., intrusive sexual or religious thoughts)

The following are common types of compulsions:

  • Excessive cleaning/washing (e.g., ritualized hand washing or cleaning of personal items)
  • Checking (e.g., making sure the door is locked)
  • Repeating (e.g., rereading, erasing and rewriting)
  • Counting (e.g., the need to count objects or while doing routine activities)

What is Sertraline?

Sertraline is an FDA-approved medication used to treat pediatric OCD.

Who Can Participate in the Study?

We are recruiting 8-17 year olds with OCD to participate in the study. We also need healthy control subjects to participate in the assessment and MRI portions of the study.  All participants will be compensated for their time and efforts.

Questions and More Information

Contact the project coordinator, Elizabeth, at:

Principal Investigator
Dr. Gail Bernstein

Visit the study website