Internet Help-Seeking Juveniles with OCD: An Examination of Severity, Symptoms, Disability and Motivation

  • Katrina A. RufinoEmail author
  • Elizabeth McIngvale
  • Eric A. Storch
Original Paper



Despite increasing research in obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), a great deal still needs to be learned regarding how the disorder manifests in the juvenile population. This study sought to expound on previous research in adults to explore the characteristics of juveniles with OCD who are seeking help via the Internet, namely their OCD symptomology and its impact on disabilty and severity, and the value of a self-perception severity screener.


This study utilized a population of 157 juveniles who were accessing an online website for program-guided treatment of OCD (ages 7 to 17 years, M = 14.55, SD = 2.33).


Results revealed that the most frequently reported subtype for juveniles was not just right (n = 73, 88.0%) followed by contamination (n = 58, 69.9%) OCD, almost half the participants 45% (n= 46) accurately reported their symptom severity, and over-reporting of symptom severity was associated with an increase in disability compared to both those who accurately reported [t(97) = −2.642, p = 0.010, r = .26] and under-reported [t(97) = −4.184, p < 0.001, r = .39] symptoms.


Clinical implications (e.g., OCD severity ratings, symptom categories, disability ratings and treatment implications), limitations (e.g., lack of confirmed diagnoses and self-reported data), and future directions (i.e., replication studies with juvenile specific measures) are discussed.


Obsessive compulsive disorder Children Adolesents Treatment Internet Help-seeking 


Author Contributions

K.A.R. analyzed the data and wrote parts of the paper. EM designed the study and wrote parts of the paper. E.A.S. collaborated in writing and editing the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

E.M. is on the board of directors for the International OCD Foundation and the Peace of Mind Foundation. E.A.S. receives research support from NIH and the International OCD Foundation. He has received royalties from Elsevier Publications, Springer Publications, American Psychological Association, Wiley, Inc, and Lawrence Erlbaum. He has served as a consultant for Rijuin Hospital, China and Levo Pharmaceuticals. He is on the Speaker’s Bureau and Scientific Advisory Board for the International OCD Foundation. The remaining author declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This study was approved by the IRB at Baylor University. No animals were used in this research.

Informed Consent

All participants provided informed consent prior to participation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Houston-DowntownHoustonUSA
  2. 2.The Menninger ClinicHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Baylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  4. 4.Baylor UniversityHoustonUSA

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