Objective: Obsessive-compulsive symptoms (OCS) co-occur frequently with anxiety and depressive disorders, but the nature of their relationship and their impact on severity of anxiety and depressive disorders is poorly understood. In a large sample of patients with anxiety and depressive disorders, we assessed the frequency of OCS, defined as a Young Adult Self-Report Scale–obsessive-compulsive symptoms score >7. The associations between OCS and severity of anxiety and/or depressive disorders were examined, and it was investigated whether OCS predict onset, relapse, and persistence of anxiety and depressive disorders. Methods: Data were obtained from the third (at 2-year follow-up) and fourth wave (at 4-year follow-up) of data collection in the Netherlands Study of Anxiety and Depression cohort, including 469 healthy controls, 909 participants with a remitted disorder, and 747 participants with a current anxiety and/or depressive disorder. Results: OCS were present in 23.6% of the total sample, most notably in those with current combined anxiety and depressive disorders. In patients with a current disorder, OCS were associated with severity of this disorder. Moreover, OCS predicted (1) first onset of anxiety and/or depressive disorders in healthy controls (odds ratio [OR], 5.79; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.15 to 29.14), (2) relapse in those with remitted anxiety and/or depressive disorders (OR, 2.31; 95% CI, 1.55 to 3.46), and (3) persistence in patients with the combination of current anxiety and depressive disorders (OR, 4.42; 95% CI, 2.54 to 7.70) within the 2-year follow-up period Conclusions: OCS are closely related to both the presence and severity of anxiety and depressive disorders and affect their course trajectories. Hence, OCS might be regarded as a course specifier signaling unfavorable outcomes. This specifier may be useful in clinical care to adapt and intensify treatment in individual patients.