Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mothers and OCD children trapped in rituals have impaired relationships

Date:
April 10, 2012
Source:
Case Western Reserve University
Summary:
A new study finds mothers tend to be more critical of children with obsessive-compulsive disorder than they are of other children in the family. And, that parental criticism is linked to poorer outcomes for the child after treatment.

A new study from Case Western Reserve University finds mothers tend to be more critical of children with obsessive-compulsive disorder than they are of other children in the family. And, that parental criticism is linked to poorer outcomes for the child after treatment.

Parent criticism has been associated with child anxiety in the past, however, researchers wanted to find out if this is a characteristic of the parent or something specific to the relationship between the anxious child and the parent.

"This suggests that mothers of anxious children are not overly critical parents in general. Instead they seem to be more critical of a child with OCD than they are of other children in the home," said Amy Przeworski, assistant professor of psychology. She is the lead author of the study, "Maternal and Child Expressed Emotion as Predictors of Treatment Response in Pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder," in the recent journal, Child Psychiatry & Human Development.

OCD is found in one in 200 children, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The psychological disorder overcomes individuals with repetitive thoughts that lead to anxiety, which is then acted out in exacting routines or behaviors that can range from foot tapping to eating rituals to school or bedtime preparations.

This research evolved from other studies that found parental criticism is associated with less success in therapy and a relapse of behavior.

"Parents' criticism may be a reaction to the child's anxiety. This research is not blaming the parent for the child's OCD. But it does suggest that the relationship between parents and children with OCD is important and should be a focus of treatment. This means that parents can help children with OCD to get better." Przeworski says.

"OCD sneaks up on the kids and parents," Przeworski says.

The psychology professor, who specializes in anxiety disorders, says some parents become concerned when their children show some early warning signs for OCD:

• Rigidity in a child, with things routinely done or said in exactly the same way or order.

• Asking for reassurance many times in the day.

• Repetition of a task from tapping the foot, checking on the stove, washing hands that the child cannot stop when asked.

• Routines that have prescribed patterns or are excessive lengthy: An example is a two-hour shower or raw and chapped hands that look like the child is wearing red gloves.

• Bedtime or dinner rituals, where there is a prescribed order for eating food, placement of food on the plate, etc.

• Temper tantrums where the child goes beyond being stubborn but has anxiety associated with them. •

Children want symmetry in appearance or things around them.

Parents initially may think it is a phase, a habit or stubbornness. Over time, the behaviors become so exacting that the child and family members have to act in prescribed ways. Parents may end up criticizing the child in an effort to get them to drop obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

The researchers videotaped interviews with 62 mother-child pairs just before the child's OCD treatment began. Children either had medication, therapy, a combination of the two, or a placebo. The children were between the ages of 7 and 17.

Because most mothers bring their children for treatment appointments, the researchers focused on the mother's view of their children. Mothers were asked to give a five-minute description of their relationship with the child with OCD and the mother's relationship with the sibling closest in age to the child with OCD. The researchers asked the children to describe their relationships with their mothers and fathers.

The researchers examined the presence of criticism and emotional over-involvement (over-protection or excessive self-sacrificing) in these descriptions. The tone of the OCD child and parent tended toward criticism, they said. The other sibling received more loving expressions. Parent criticism was associated with poorer child functioning after treatment.

Przeworski said treatment of OCD has good results, but many times parents misjudge these rigid routines as stubbornness or "just going through a phase" until the behavior takes over family life. Then parents realize the behavior requires therapy.

Collaborating with Przeworski were: Lorie Zoellner from University of Washington; Martin E. Franklin and Edna B. Foa, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; and Abbe Garcia and Jennifer Freeman, Brown University. The study was supported with funds from the National


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Case Western Reserve University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Amy Przeworski, Lori A. Zoellner, Martin E. Franklin, Abbe Garcia, Jennifer Freeman, John S. March, Edna B. Foa. Maternal and Child Expressed Emotion as Predictors of Treatment Response in Pediatric Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 2011; DOI: 10.1007/s10578-011-0268-8

Cite This Page:

Case Western Reserve University. "Mothers and OCD children trapped in rituals have impaired relationships." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120410130650.htm>.
Case Western Reserve University. (2012, April 10). Mothers and OCD children trapped in rituals have impaired relationships. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120410130650.htm
Case Western Reserve University. "Mothers and OCD children trapped in rituals have impaired relationships." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120410130650.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins