Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Scott Vrana

Second Advisor

Sandra Gramling

Third Advisor

Christine Eubanks

Fourth Advisor

Therese Cash


Misophonia is a decreased sound tolerance condition (DST) that is not yet well-established in the literature. However, the existing research on misophonia shows that it is occurring at substantial levels in the population. The majority of the existing literature has focused on the clinical correlates of misophonia. Although the correlates have been investigated, there is no accepted mechanism behind misophonia etiology or maintenance. The present study examined three hypotheses in order to start to identify potential mechanisms behind misophonia: how emotional predilections are related to the emotional response, how obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms and misophonia are related, and the possibility that the relationship between anxiety sensitivity (AS) and misophonia may be explained in part by the presence of OCD symptoms. Data were collected by Cash (2015) using both undergraduate students (N=451) and community participants (N = 377) using Amazon’s MTurk. Participants completed an online cross-sectional survey assessing for a number of decreased sound tolerance conditions, individual differences variables, and clinical variables. The current study specifically used measures of anxiety sensitivity, OCD, misophonia symptom severity, trait anger, and trait anxiety. Consistent with the literature on state-trait theory, trait emotion was predictive of state levels, such that trait anger was most predictive of an angry misophonic response and trait anxiety was most predictive of an anxious reaction to misophonic stimuli. Misophonia was more strongly related to obsessive than to compulsive components of OCD, consistent with case reports of obsessive thoughts in misophonia. Lastly, OCD symptoms partially mediated the relationship between AS symptom severity and misophonia symptom severity. These results supported our hypotheses, and align with the theorized role of anxiety sensitivity in OCD and in misophonia. Although the data are cross-sectional in nature, and causality cannot be confirmed, the current study provides a strong basis for future research into the mechanisms of misophonia.


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