Misophonia: incidence, phenomenology, and clinical correlates in an undergraduate student sample

J Clin Psychol. 2014 Oct;70(10):994-1007. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22098. Epub 2014 Apr 17.


Objective: Individuals with misophonia display extreme sensitivities to selective sounds, often resulting in negative emotions and subsequent maladaptive behaviors, such as avoidance and anger outbursts. While there has been increasing interest in misophonia, few data have been published to date.

Method: This study investigated the incidence, phenomenology, correlates, and impairment associated with misophonia symptoms in 483 undergraduate students through self-report measures.

Results: Misophonia was a relatively common phenomenon, with nearly 20% of the sample reporting clinically significant misophonia symptoms. Furthermore, misophonia symptoms demonstrated strong associations with measures of impairment and general sensory sensitivities, and moderate associations with obsessive-compulsive, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. Anxiety mediated the relationship between misophonia and anger outbursts.

Conclusion: This investigation contributes to a better understanding of misophonia and indicates potential factors that may co-occur and influence the clinical presentation of a person with misophonia symptoms.

Keywords: adult; impairment; misophonia; obsessive-compulsive disorder; phenomenology.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anger / physiology
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Auditory Perceptual Disorders / diagnosis
  • Auditory Perceptual Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Auditory Perceptual Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Self Report
  • Sensation Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult