Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 74–82 | Cite as

Public Recognition and Perceptions of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

  • Elyse StewartEmail author
  • Breanna Grunthal
  • Lindsey Collins
  • Meredith Coles
Original Paper


Previous research has indicated that the public’s knowledge on obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is poor. Public understanding and perception of OCD may be one contributor to this issue. Given that mental health literacy is an important first step for those to receive the appropriate care, we sought to understand more about the public’s awareness and perceptions of OCD. Data regarding knowledge of OCD were collected through a New York statewide telephone survey (N = 806). Results indicated that those who had never heard of OCD were more likely to be ethnic minorities, have a lower income, and less education. Most participants described OCD either in terms of compulsions or in terms of perfectionism. Almost half (46.5%) of participants did not think there is a difference between someone with OCD and someone who is obsessive–compulsive. These findings are consistent with previous literature regarding race and treatment seeking behaviors.


Obsessive compulsive disorder Mental health literacy Obsessive compulsive personality disorder 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elyse Stewart
    • 1
    Email author
  • Breanna Grunthal
    • 1
  • Lindsey Collins
    • 1
  • Meredith Coles
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBinghamton University – State University of New YorkBinghamtonUSA

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