OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study was to determine the rate of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in patients with first-episode schizophrenia. METHOD: Fifty patients consecutively hospitalized with first-episode psychosis who met DSM-IV criteria for schizophrenia spectrum disorders were assessed for OCD. The instruments used were the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, Schedule for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms (SAPS), Schedule for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS), and Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale. RESULTS: Seven (14%) of the 50 schizophrenic patients met DSM-IV criteria for OCD and scored significantly lower than schizophrenic patients without OCD on the formal thought disorder subscale of the SAPS and the flattened affect subscale of the SANS. CONCLUSIONS: OCD is relatively frequent in patients with first-episode schizophrenia and may have a "protective" effect on some schizophrenic symptoms, at least in the early stages of the disease.