Public Recognition and Perceptions of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Elyse Stewart.

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Stewart, E., Grunthal, B., Collins, L. et al. Public Recognition and Perceptions of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Community Ment Health J 55, 74–82 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-018-0323-z

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Keywords

  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Mental health literacy
  • Obsessive compulsive personality disorder