Experiences of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): activity, state and object episodes

Olivia Knapton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health problem characterized by persistent obsessions and compulsions. This article provides insights into experiences of OCD through a qualitative, thematic analysis performed on a set of interviews with people with OCD. Four themes were found as central in the participants’ descriptions of OCD episodes: (a) space, (b) the body, (c) objects, and (d) interactions. The findings also show that episodes of OCD can be grouped into three broad categories: (a) activity episodes, which revolve around everyday tasks; (b) state episodes, which are concerned with the self and identity; and (c) object episodes, which are concerned with the effects of objects on the self. The relationship of this three-way classification of OCD episodes to existing cognitive models of OCD is discussed. The study also demonstrates the value of categorizing episodes, rather than people, into subtypes of OCD so that intra-participant variation can be highlighted.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Health Research
Early online date1 Sept 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Sept 2015


  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • OCD
  • OCD Subtypes
  • OCD episodes
  • autogenous-reactive model
  • qualitative analysis
  • thematic analysis
  • qualitative United Kingdom


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