Learning to live with OCD: labeling, the self, and stigma

Dana Fennell, University of Southern Mississippi
Ana S. Q. Liberato


Researchers have long questioned relationships among self-conceptions, "mental illness,'' and stigma. This article looks at these issues through the lens of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), as minimal research has focused on the lived experience of OCD. We examine the impact of OCD on constructions of identity and the management/resistance of stigma. We do this through in-depth interviews with an untraditional Internet-based sample. We find respondents experience a crisis of self that leads them to a variety of strategies to deal with self-stigma, experienced stigma, and anticipated stigma.