A Mixed Methods Study on Trauma Exposure and OCD

Updated: Mar 12, 2021

As an advanced graduate student in the clinical psychology PhD program, the majority of my research time is dedicated to my dissertation research. Motivated by theoretical questions that emerged during my clinical training at McLean Hospital’s OCD-Institute I am investigating the role of trauma exposure in OCD onset, severity and treatment responding. The title of my dissertation research is “Trauma Exposure as a Compounding Factor in the Onset and Trajectory of OCD and Related Clinical Symptoms: A Mixed Methods Approach”.

I am conducting this study in two phases. The first phase has involved collection of quantitative data from adults receiving OCD treatment at a residential treatment facility in Massachusetts. The quantitative data collection was conducted using structured clinical interviews and self-report questionnaires completed by consenting adults. Following quantitative data analysis, a qualitative interview was developed. Phase two of the study involves interviewing participants at the same treatment facility who have experienced a traumatic event as defined by the DSM-5 diagnostic Criterion A for posttraumatic stress disorder. Follow-up questions will be asked regarding onset, trajectory and severity of OCD, PTSD, and related clinical symptoms following trauma exposure. It is my hope that the qualitative data analysis will provide a more fine-grained understanding of the relationship between trauma exposure and OCD in a clinically moderate – severe treatment seeking population.