Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in African American Children and Adolescents: Risks, Resiliency, and Barriers to Treatment

M. Williams and M. Jahn

Abstract

Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is a serious condition that remains understudied in ethnoracial minority populations. The presence of OCD and the individual, familial, and cultural factors that influence this condition can interfere with healthy development and cause lifelong disability. To date, there has not been a single published research article focused on OCD in African American youth. Ethnic and racial minorities with OCD are underrepresented or altogether absent from treatment centers and research studies, although evidence suggests that OCD may be particularly persistent in these populations. This article reviews risk factors, protective factors, and barriers to treatment in African American children and adolescents with OCD. This review conceptualizes cultural differences in symptomology, low income, reduced access to care, racism, and mental health stigma, as risk factors. Also discussed are the roles of family factors in the development and maintenance of the disorder, including family accommodations, conflictual family communication, and parenting styles. Potential protective factors are also examined, including a positive ethnic identity, social support, present-centered time orientation, and religious communities. Implications of findings are discussed. There is an urgent need for research to understand the needs of African American children and adolescents with OCD. 

 

Reference: American Journal of Orthopsychiatry (2017)

 

 

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