Where did my OCD come from? A qualitative exploratory study
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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There is a lack of empirical studies investigating patients’ understanding of why they developed obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In this article, we explore patients’ conceptualization of why they developed OCD and their understanding of the significance of having a theory about why they developed OCD. We utilized a hermeneutical-phenomenological approach to analyze and interpret the data. Focus group interviews were conducted with 15 individuals who had undergone group behavioral treatment for OCD for an average of 8.5 years ago. Four core categories were drawn from our analysis: (1) OCD as a coping strategy; (2) OCD as a result of family heritage; (3) comfort in understanding where one’s OCD comes from; and (4) ambivalence about focusing on causes in treatment of OCD. In conclusion, participants noted a range of potential psychosocial contributors to the development of their OCD symptoms. Of particular note were beliefs that OCD initially developed as a coping strategy for handling difficult life situations. Potential clinical and research-related implications of these findings are discussed.