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What are the predictors of family accommodation of obsessive-compulsive behaviours in adults and youth with obsessive-compulsive disorder and their relatives? A systematic review

Lookup NU author(s): Paul Watson, Joanne Clarkin, Professor Claire Lomax


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© 2021 Elsevier Inc. There is an increasing understanding that obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) occurs within an interpersonal context in which family members can become involved in assisting relatives with their OCD; a process known as family accommodation (FA). This review conducted a systematic evaluation of the literature investigating predictors of family accommodation of OCD in child and adult samples. A systematic literature search identified 14 relevant papers which were then assessed against a quality grid. Although these studies identified several predictors of family accommodation, with the exception of OCD symptom severity, it is difficult to draw any reliable conclusions regarding which variables are pertinent to predicting accommodation due to several methodological issues within the field at present. This review suggests the field currently suffers from a lack of clarity and consensus in defining and measuring FA; inadequate power and small samples sizes which accompany ‘exploratory’ research; and limited attempts to replicate, strengthen and extend previous findings. This, therefore, suggests that the evidence regarding reliable predictors of FA in OCD does not appear to be robust at present and should be viewed with some caution. It is recommended that future research should seek to develop a clear understanding of the processes involved in family accommodation of OCD by implementing robust research designs to confirm and extend the evidence available for the predictors already identified within the field.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Watson P, Clarkin J, Lomax C

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders

Year: 2021

Volume: 31

Print publication date: 01/10/2021

Online publication date: 10/08/2021

Acceptance date: 07/08/2021

ISSN (print): 2211-3649

ISSN (electronic): 2211-3657

Publisher: Elsevier B.V.


DOI: 10.1016/j.jocrd.2021.100681