Why was the study conducted? It is important people experiencing OCD access suitable treatment promptly. This study looked to see whether self-compassion (i.e:, the ability to be kind to oneself, to understand that distress is a common human experience and to tolerate difficult experiences) plays a role in how ready people feel to engage in treatment and how well treatment works to inform effective treatments.
What was done: Adults awaiting treatment for OCD through local IAPT services were asked whether they were willing to be contacted about the study. In total 80 people completed questionnaires on their obsessive beliefs, how ready they felt to start treatment and their self-compassion level. They also completed some mood questionnaires routinely completed in IAPT. These measures were completed before and after treatment and data on demographics (e.g. age/gender) and clinical characteristics (e.g. duration of OCD, treatment type) were pulled from the record with consent.
What was found:
- People low in self-compassion felt significantly less ready to engage in treatment (i.e.. had more concerns about starting treatment). They also experienced more severe symptoms of low mood, anxiety and OCD and had more obsessive beliefs.
- People’s self-compassion level marginally predicted how ready they felt to start treatment above how severe their symptoms of low mood, anxiety and OCD were.
- We are continuing to collect data on the post-treatment questionnaires to see whether self-compassion predicts how well treatment works.
Implications: Low self-compassion appears to marginally affect how ready people feel to engage in treatment. Research is ongoing to see whether this impacts how well people later engage with treatment and how well treatment works. If so, it may be that using a questionnaire to assess people’s self-compassion level before treatment and/or considering treatment focused on improving their readiness for treatment or self-compassion level first may be helpful.
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Published: 21 September 2023