Obsessive-compulsive disorder in children and adolescents: Parental understanding, accommodation, coping and distress

Annabel Futh, Laura M. Simonds*, Nadia Micali

*Corresponding author for this work
44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Parental accommodation of pediatric OCD is common and is associated with negative affect in parents. Qualitative accounts of caring for a child with OCD are limited and no studies have assessed differences between mothers and fathers in accommodation, coping and distress. The current study used a mixed methods approach to understand parental accommodation, negative affect and coping. Forty-one mothers and 29 fathers of 43 children with OCD were asked to write narratives about their understanding and management of OCD and to complete measures of accommodation, coping, and distress. Symptom accommodation was high with almost half of the parents watching the child complete rituals or waiting for the child on a daily basis. Analysis of parental narratives indicated a distressing struggle between engaging in and resisting accommodation in order to manage their own and their child's anger and distress. . T-tests and correlation analysis indicated that accommodation did not differ significantly between mothers and fathers but was more strongly associated with negative affect in mothers. Analyses indicated that mothers reported using all types of coping strategy more often than fathers, particularly escape-avoidance, taking responsibility and using social support. Escape-avoidance coping was positively correlated with accommodation and negative affect in both mothers and fathers. Interventions that target parental constructions of OCD and their behavioural and emotional responses to it may assist in reducing the occurrence of accommodation, avoidant coping and parental distress.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Volume26
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)624-632
Number of pages9
ISSN0887-6185
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Accommodation
  • Children
  • Coping
  • Distress
  • OCD
  • Parents

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