What is it about?

Interpersonal reassurance-seeking (i.e., seeking reassurance from other people) is a well-established phenomenon in obsessive-compulsive disorder, but non-interpersonal forms of reassurance-seeking have received less research attention. These two studies explore the phenomenon of online reassurance-seeking (e.g., using search engines to seek reassurance) in two community samples. We found that online reassurance-seeking was common and was associated with the severity of obsessive-compulsive symptoms, feelings of shame, and fears about one's true nature.

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Why is it important?

Our findings point to online reassurance-seeking as a phenomenon worthy of further study, and suggest a need to consider broader definitions of reassurance-seeking that are not limited to social interactions. Clinically, the results are a reminder to assess for online behaviours that may contribute to symptoms and might otherwise go undetected.


This article summarizes the results of the first two studies of my PhD dissertation. I am excited to begin to share my findings, and hope that they spark further conversation about the importance of online behaviours from a clinical perspective.

Carly A. Parsons
University of British Columbia

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Online reassurance-seeking and relationships with obsessive-compulsive symptoms, shame, and fear of self, Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, April 2022, Elsevier,
DOI: 10.1016/j.jocrd.2022.100714.
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