Category: Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders


Exploring the Relationship Between OCD and Misophonia

Sunday, November 19
10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom C & D, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) | Transdiagnostic
Presentation Type: Symposium

Individuals with misophonia demonstrate extreme sensitivity to selective sounds, and are often faced with a considerable level of distress, anger, or discomfort as a result.  Common everyday sounds elicit significant distress, resulting in functional impairment across a variety of domains.  Unlike other auditory disorders, misophonia is not postulated to be dependent on auditory thresholds or impairment/hyper-activation of the auditory pathways (Jastreboff & Hazell, 2004).  Instead, this pattern of behaviors has been more likened to sensory overresponsivity specific to auditory stimuli.

Furthermore, when considering comorbidity with mental disorders, clinical case studies have suggested the co-occurrence of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and misophonia (Schwartz, Leyendecker, & Conlon, 2011).  Little is known about the clinical correlates of misophonia, and its particular overlap with OCD impacts the formulation of potential interventions.  The shared characteristics between the two disorders, namely the negative reactions and need to avoid situations/complete compulsions due to certain sounds have prompted suggestions for the use of cognitive-behavioral interventions (McGuire, Wu, & Storch, 2015).  However, more research is needed in order to devise optimal methods to ameliorate the misophonia symptoms.

To contribute to the scant literature examining this condition, this study analyzed data gathered from 483 college-aged participants to ascertain the prevalence and phenomenology of misophonia, examine clinical and demographic correlates, and investigate related impairment.  Results indicated that misophonia was a relatively common phenomenon, with ~20% of the sample endorsing significant misophonia symptoms.  Furthermore, misophonia symptoms demonstrated strong associations with measures of impairment and general sensory sensitivities, and moderate associations with OC-, anxiety, and depressive symptoms.  Interestingly, misophonia symptoms significantly correlated with all subtypes of OC-symptoms (r=.30-.40), with ordering and washing symptoms exhibiting the strongest correlations.  Implications of the data and future directions will be discussed.

Monica S. Wu

Graduate Student
University of South Florida


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Exploring the Relationship Between OCD and Misophonia

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