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18-02-2019 | Original Article | Uitgave 4/2019

Child Psychiatry & Human Development 4/2019

Parents’ Perceptions of Internalizing and Externalizing Features in Childhood OCD

Child Psychiatry & Human Development > Uitgave 4/2019
Andrew G. Guzick, Danielle L. Cooke, Joseph P. H. McNamara, Adam M. Reid, Paulo A. Graziano, Adam B. Lewin, Tanya K. Murphy, Wayne K. Goodman, Eric A. Storch, Gary R. Geffken
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Although obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) has often been characterized as an internalizing disorder, some children with OCD exhibit externalizing behaviors that are specific to their OCD. This study sought to demonstrate that parents perceive both internalizing and externalizing behaviors in childhood OCD by examining the factor structure of the Child Obsessive–Compulsive Externalizing/Internalizing Scale (COCEIS), a parent-report questionnaire intended to measure these constructs. This study also investigated clinical correlates of internalizing and externalizing factors in the COCEIS. A factor analysis of questionnaire responses from 122 parents of youth with OCD revealed both externalizing and internalizing factors in the COCEIS. Externalizing behaviors in childhood OCD were associated with other, co-occurring externalizing behavior problems, while both factors were positively correlated with OCD severity and co-occurring internalizing symptoms. They were positively associated with each other at a trend level, and neither showed a significant relationship with insight. Sixty-two percent of parents endorsed “often” or “always” to at least one externalizing item, though modal responses to items suggested that each individual feature captured by the COCEIS may be relatively uncommon. Mean responses were significantly greater for internalizing items. This study provides evidence for distinct but related externalizing and internalizing behaviors specific to childhood OCD. Treatment for children with OCD presenting with more externalizing behaviors may require a greater emphasis on behavioral parent training and motivational enhancement.

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