Misunderstood: Phenomenologically Informed Research of Illness Experiences of Individuals with "Pure O" OCD
Date of Completion
College of Arts and Science Honors
Dr. Deborah Blom
Dr. Jeanne Shea
Dr. Keith Burt
"Pure O" Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Intrusive Thoughts, Illness Experiences, Media Representation, Online Support Groups, ERP
Even with OCD being estimated at a worldwide prevalence rate of 2%, the various manifestations of the disorder aren’t well known in modern society and the mental health fields. The purpose of this study is to examine how individuals with primarily obsessional (“Pure O”) Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, a rarer form of OCD, access information about the disorder. Also, it investigates whether the ways OCD is portrayed in the media might hinder diagnosis for these individuals. The study’s 10 survey questions, related to individuals’ experiences of realizing their condition and accessing effective treatment, helped to generate qualitative data for analysis. It discusses the importance of recognizing how relatively-new internet chat groups, that offer the ability to freely discuss with like-minded individuals, have affected individuals’ experience of their illness. This thesis argues for the importance of trained mental health professionals who can identify “Pure O” and treat it with Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy and/or assisted medication. It also highlights the humanness of these individuals and calls for more accurate portrayals of “Pure O” in the media.
Seyfer, Winter Skye, "Misunderstood: Phenomenologically Informed Research of Illness Experiences of Individuals with "Pure O" OCD" (2021). UVM College of Arts and Sciences College Honors Theses. 102.