Family and Friendship Networks and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Among African Americans and Black Caribbeans

J. Himle, R. Taylor, A. Nguyen, M. Williams, K. Lincoln, H. Taylor and L. Chatters


Although there is a large literature on the influence of social support on mental health there is limited research on social support and OCD. This is especially the case for African Americans and Black Caribbeans. This study examines the relationship between family and friendship networks and the prevalence of OCD. The analysis is based on the National Survey of American Life a nationally representative sample of African Americans and Black Caribbeans. Variables included frequency of contact with family and friends, subjective closeness with family and friends, and negative interactions (conflict, criticisms) with family members. The results indicated that only negative interaction with family members was significantly associated with OCD prevalence. African Americans and Black Caribbeans with more frequent negative interactions with family members had a higher likelihood of having OCD. Subjective closeness and frequency of contact with family and friends was not protective of OCD. Overall the findings are consistent with previous work which finds that social support is an inconsistent protective factor of psychiatric disorders, but negative interactions with support network members is more consistently associated with mental health problems.

Reference: Behavior Therapy (2017)


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