Role of Family Functioning in the Development of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder



Degree: M.Phil

Year: 2005-2007

University: Centre for Clinical Psychology, Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan


The objective of my qualitative study was to explore the role of the perceived family functioning in the development of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and to find out differences in family functioning between clinical and non-clinical participants. It also aimed to identify dysfunctional as well as healthy patterns of family functioning responsible for the development of OCD. Although there were many researches carried out in the West on the role of familial factors in the development of OCD, yet it seems a neglected area in Pakistan. A Questionnaire was constructed based on McMaster Theory of family functioning and literature review to serve as an Interview Guide. The Constructivist paradigm and phenomenological approach were employed to explore perceived family functioning. Sample included five OCD patients and five non-clinical participants. Purposive sampling was used for selection of the participants. Minimum age for selection of the participants was 18 years. The clinical participants of OCD, already diagnosed by their respective psychiatrist/clinical psychologist, were included in the study. Their diagnosis was further verified with the help of detailed case history interview and Symptom Checklist-R. Clinical sample was taken from teaching hospitals of Lahore whereas the non-clinical participants were taken from local community. The non-clinical participants were matched with the clinical participants on the variables such as age, gender, education, socioeconomic status, marital status and type of family i.e. nuclear or extended. The participants were screened with the help of Symptom Checklist-Revised to rule out OCD and other psychopathologies. Initially, a pilot study was conducted on one OCD patient and one non-clinical participant. All the participants were interviewed and their in-depth semi-structured interviews were tape-recorded, which were transcribed into Urdu language. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to analyze transcribed data. All the transcriptions were read and re-read to identify themes: exploratory, recurrent and then major themes were identified. Numerical coding was used to sort out and specify different themes. These were tabulated and sketched into a diagram to make the view of the perceived family functioning of clinical and non-clinical participants clearer. Colour coding was used to specify participants’ verbatim statements. Relevant verbatim statements of the participants were incorporated into analysis. Differences between the family functioning of both groups of participants in form of ‘contrasting themes’ and similarities in form of ‘common themes’ were analyzed and interpreted further in relation to the existing evidence and literature. My interpretation of data and emergent themes would provide an insight into Pakistani socio-cultural milieu within families. Findings have been discussed in the context of family functioning theory grounded in Pakistani’s culture, family therapy and interventions.

Keywords: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Family Functioning, Patient, Non Clinical Population.

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