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Expert Rev Neurother. 2012 Feb;12(2):229-38. doi: 10.1586/ern.11.200.

Family accommodation in obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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Yale Child Study Center, 230 S Frontage Rd, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Family accommodation refers to ways in which family members take part in the performance of rituals, avoidance of anxiety-provoking situations or modification of daily routines to assist a relative with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Our goal is to review the available data on the role of family accommodation in both children and adults with OCD. A search of available peer-reviewed English language papers was conducted through PubMed and PsycINFO cross-referencing the keyword OCD with accommodation, family relations and parents. The resulting 641 papers were individually evaluated for relevance to the scope of the review. It was found that accommodation is common in OCD and is strongly and consistently correlated with OCD symptom severity. Family accommodation also appears to be increased when the proband has cleaning contamination symptoms and increased internalizing or externalizing problems. Family accommodation is associated with increased parental OCD and anxiety symptoms. Levels of accommodation are associated with treatment outcomes for both behavioral and pharmacological treatment. Significant improvement of OCD symptoms with treatment is associated with reductions in family accommodation. Family accommodation represents important clinical data that is worth measuring, monitoring and tracking in clinical care. Therapies targeting family accommodation may be successful in improving treatment outcomes in OCD.

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