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Expert Rev Neurother. 2016;16(1):45-53. doi: 10.1586/14737175.2016.1126181. Epub 2015 Dec 22.

Family accommodation in obsessive-compulsive and anxiety disorders: a five-year update.

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a Yale Child Study Center, Yale University , New Haven , CT , USA.
b Department of Psychology , Arizona State University , Tempe , AZ , USA.


Family accommodation describes changes that individuals make to their behavior, to help their relative who is dealing with a psychiatric and/or psychological disorder(s), avoid or alleviate distress related to the disorder. Research on family accommodation has advanced rapidly. In this update we aim to provide a synthesis of findings from the past five years. A search of available, peer-reviewed, English language papers was conducted through PubMed and PsycINFO, cross referencing psychiatric disorders with accommodation and other family-related terms. The resulting 121 papers were individually reviewed and evaluated and the main findings were discussed. Family accommodation is common in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and in anxiety disorders, and manifests similarly across these disorders. Family accommodation is associated with more severe psychopathology and poorer clinical outcomes. Treatments have begun to focus on the reduction of family accommodation as a primary therapeutic goal and finally, neurobiological underpinnings of family accommodation are beginning to be investigated.


anxiety disorders; cognitive-behavior therapy; family accommodation; family members; obsessive-compulsive disorder; treatment outcomes

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