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Attitudes toward obsessive-compulsive disorders--an experimental investigation.

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University of Greenwich, School of Social Sciences and Law, Bronte Hall, Avery Hill Road, London SE9 2UG, UK.



Fear, embarrassment and stigma are salient factors contributing to reluctance to seek help for psychological distress. Although vignette studies have often been employed to assess attitudes towards psychological disorders, no study has specifically assessed attitudes towards Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).


An experimental study assessing attitudes toward obsessive-compulsive problems is presented. One hundred and thirteen undergraduate students were given vignettes describing three subtypes of obsessive-compulsive problem (harming, washing and checking). They were asked to make judgements about fear, shame and social acceptance, and to evaluate how they themselves might feel if they experienced the problems described in the vignettes.


The obsessive-compulsive problems described in the vignettes were evaluated differently in terms of shame, fear and social acceptance. The harming problems were rated as being the most unacceptable, followed by the washing behaviour, and then the checking behaviour.


The findings suggest that attitudes to obsessive-compulsive problems are likely to be complex and that help-seeking influences may vary across the different subtypes of this disorder. The implications for people seeking help for obsessive-compulsive problems are pointed out.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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