First Advisor

Larry R. Martinez

Term of Graduation

Fall 2022

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Applied Psychology







Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 124 pages)


Research focused on Identity Management (IDM) in the workplace has explored the experiences of people with many different stigmatized identities (e.g., sexual orientation, gender identity, race/ethnicity, religiosity); however, research has only recently begun to explore IDM of mental illness in the workplace. One such identity, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), has remained particularly unexplored. Individuals with mental illnesses, such as OCD, experience unique consequences with their concealment and disclosure process. Specifically, OCD has both cognitive and behavioral components, and, the behavioral component of OCD can demonstrate to coworkers visible actions that are seen as "not normal" or "awkward," potentially unintentionally signaling the presence of OCD to others. The disclosure process could be drastically different for people with OCD compared to that of other invisible stigmatized identities (e.g., sexual orientation). Therefore, this dissertation focused on better understanding the underlying mechanisms of OCD in the workplace and the impact of OCD disclosure and coworker reactions across three studies. I identified qualitative themes about employees' experiences with OCD in the workplace and their interactions with coworkers from comments collected from online forums (e.g., Reddit; Study 1). Next, I used a survey design to expand on the results from Study 1 and provide a more traditional, generalized survey evaluation of OCD disclosure at work (Study 2). Finally, agent-based modeling was used to build on the first two studies and simulate interactions between people with OCD and their coworkers throughout a large organization (Study 3). The results provide evidence for the impact of coworker support and disclosure to reduce burnout and turnover. Theoretically, this dissertation contributes to the research on diversity and stigma in the workplace, identity management, and paranoid cognitions through the study of OCD in the workplace. Methodologically, by harnessing data from online forums and agent-based modeling, this dissertation provides unique examples of new ways to gain an understanding of organizational phenomena not previously leveraged in the literature.


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Psychology Commons