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JOURNAL ARTICLE

A Large-Scale Study of Misophonia

Romke Rouw, Mercede Erfanian
Journal of Clinical Psychology 2018, 74 (3): 453-479
28561277

OBJECTIVE: We aim to elucidate misophonia, a condition in which particular sounds elicit disproportionally strong aversive reactions.

METHOD: A large online study extensively surveyed personal, developmental, and clinical characteristics of over 300 misophonics.

RESULTS: Most participants indicated that their symptoms started in childhood or early teenage years. Severity of misophonic responses increases over time. One third of participants reported having family members with similar symptoms. Half of our participants reported no comorbid clinical conditions, and the other half reported a variety of conditions. Only posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was related to the severity of the misophonic symptoms. Remarkably, half of the participants reported experiencing euphoric, relaxing, and tingling sensations with particular sounds or sights, a relatively unfamiliar phenomenon called autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR).

CONCLUSION: It is unlikely that another "real" underlying clinical, psychiatric, or psychological disorder can explain away the misophonia. The possible relationship with PTSD and ASMR warrants further investigation.

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