OCD Research Projects

Current OCD Research Projects

About Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a highly disabling and distressing disorder, which has made it one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, OCD afflicts 2.2 million American adults. OCD is equally common among men and women, causing significant and pervasive impairment in multiple domains, including home life, work, and relationships. OCD-related costs have previously been estimated at $8 billion dollars annually in the US.

People with OCD experience multiple barriers to treatment, including difficulty locating affordable help, cultural stigma, and lack of knowledge about treatment options. Minorities with OCD are absent from speciality treatment centers and research studies. The CMHD is dedicated to conducting research to address these problems and the resulting mental health disparity.

OCD & Relationships — Married with OCD?

We are currently conducting a study about OCD and marital satisfaction. Little research has focused on how OCD affects those around the individual with the diagnosis, especially with their spouses. We are surveying people on how satisfied they are in their marriages to determine the impact of the disorder on marital satisfaction. The information that is collected for this study may help clinicians better understand how to adjust their therapeutic approach to help married couples in distress because of problems associated with OCD. Data analysis for this project is underway.

Project Team: Ghazel Tellawi, Jenifer Viscusi

Sexual Orientation Obsessions in OCD

Dr. Williams recently conducted an internet study on profiles of distress in people with sexual orientation obsessions in OCD. With the help of colleagues at the University of Houston Clear Lake, this data has been analysed and is being used to pilot a self-report measure to help clinicians distinguish between OCD symptoms and people with other types of sexual orientation concerns. Data collection for this project is underway. Contact us if you are interested in participating. Download study flyer.

Project Team: Ghazel Tellawi, Joe Slimowicz, Darlene Davis, Jenifer Viscusi, Melissa Ellsworth

OCD and African Americans

OCD afflicts an estimated 1.6% of the American population, and the National Survey of American Life (NSAL) found that Black Americans experience OCD at rates equivalent to the general population, however very few receive treatment, indicating a substantial health disparity. Dr. Monnica Williams completed a project at the University of Pennsylvania where she collected data from a sample of 75 African Americans with a lifetime diagnosis of OCD. The CMHD is currently working on several papers reporting the results of this study. Learn more about the findings of the African Americans with OCD Project. Dr. Williams and students are completing papers on the validation of popular measures of OCD in African Americans (SCID, DS-R) and psychiatric comorbidity in this population, as well as family factors in the development of OCD.

Project Leaders: Broderick Sawyer, Darlene Davis

aa ocd

Academic Accommodations in OCD

The purpose of this research project is to establish performance patterns in current and recent college students with OCD. Using standard psychological assessments, such as the Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale and Woodcock Johnson-III, the goal is to identify and recommend appropriate classroom accommodation for students with OCD. Furthermore, this project will contribute to the literature on the need for academic accommodations for OCD sufferers in educational settings.

Given the dearth of literature available regarding appropriate accommodations for students with OCD, this project is vitally important. This information will assist psychologists in recommending appropriate accommodations for students with OCD who are requesting psychological testing seeking school or related services. Based on previous neuropsychological literature assessing adults with OCD, deficits in working memory and processing speed are expected; therefore, we hypothesize that more time on standardized tests will be needed to assist students with OCD in test performance.

Project Leader: Darlene Davis, Marlena Debreaux