Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic condition characterized by an array of intrusive, upsetting thoughts and interfering, repetitive behaviors. Some forms of OCD may be etiologically related to Tourette's syndrome (TS). This cross‐sectional study examines a range of obsessive compulsive (OC) symptoms which have been hypothesized to distinguish tic‐related OCD from non‐tic‐related OCD. One hundred and seventy‐seven patients with a primary DSM‐IIIR diagnosis of OCD, aged 16 to 72, participated in the study. Patients with tic‐related OCD (n = 56) reported more OC symptoms, including more aggressive, religious, and sexual obsessions as well as checking, counting, ordering, touching, and hoarding compulsions than did patients with non‐tic‐related OCD (n = 121). Contrary to our expectation, these two groups of OCD patients did not differ with regard to the presence of “just right” phenomena or symptoms of psychasthenia. “just right” phenomena and symptoms of psychasthenia, however, were both found to be associated with the current severity of OC symptoms. Anxiety 1:208–215 (1994/1995). © 1995 Wley‐Liss, Inc.