Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Kertz, Sarah


Standard methods of assessment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) involve retrospective report of symptoms over a prior period of interest (e.g., a week, a month, etc.). However, such accounts may be subject to recall biases, leading to inaccurate assessments of symptoms. Recall biases present in two domains of symptom severity (distress and interference) were examined. The following study applied experience-sampling methods (ESM) to OCD symptom assessment. Using a modified form of the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale, twenty-one adults with a primary diagnosis of OCD rated distress and interference of their principle obsession and compulsion four times daily for approximately one week. At the end of the experience-sampling period, participants provided retrospective estimates of distress and interference of principle obsessions and compulsions experienced during the course of the ESM period. Results found that participants retrospectively overestimated OCD ratings, compared to their real-time ratings. Two proposed reasons for such overestimates (peak-end evaluation and symptom variability) were examined though not supported based on current study results. Implications and future directions are discussed.




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