An empirical investigation of incompleteness in a large clinical sample of obsessive compulsive disorder

Nicholas J. Sibrava*, Christina Lynn Boisseau, Jane L. Eisen, Maria C. Mancebo, Steven A. Rasmussen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disorder with heterogeneous clinical presentations. To advance our understanding of this heterogeneity we investigated the prevalence and clinical features associated with incompleteness (INC), a putative underlying core feature of OCD. We predicted INC would be prominent in individuals with OCD and associated with greater severity and impairment. We examined the impact of INC in 307 adults with primary OCD. Participants with clinically significant INC (22.8% of the sample) had significantly greater OCD severity, greater rates of comorbidity, poorer ratings of functioning, lower quality of life, and higher rates of unemployment and disability. Participants with clinically significant INC were also more likely to be diagnosed with OCPD and to endorse symmetry/exactness obsessions and ordering/arranging compulsions than those who reported low INC. Our findings provide evidence that INC is associated with greater severity, comorbidity, and impairment, highlighting the need for improved assessment and treatment of INC in OCD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-51
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
StatePublished - 2016


  • Core features
  • Harm avoidance
  • Incompleteness
  • Not just right experiences
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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