Graduate Program

Clinical Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Susan L. Longley


Recent changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders have grouped together syndromes which are referred to as the obsessive-compulsive spectrum (OCS). The grouping of these syndromes is disputed because of lack of empirical verification for an organization purportedly based on research that supports similarity of observed symptoms. The taxonomy of emotional disorders was tested as an alternative model. Consistent with the model of the emotional disorders, this empirical research tested two proposed characteristics. The first was whether three OCS syndromes (hoarding syndrome, body dysmorphic syndrome, and obsessive compulsive syndromes) shared the broad factor of neuroticism or negative affect (N/NA) with the acknowledged emotional disorders of GAD and PTSD. The second was whether all of the syndromes had unique symptoms that made them distinct. Self-report measures of the five syndromes were administered to 300 undergraduates. Pearson moment correlations were followed by confirmatory factor analyses of the data. The results supported the hypotheses that each syndrome had a similar relationship with N/NA and that the individual syndromes are separable by unique symptoms.