Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wu, Kevin D.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


This dissertation examines the construct of incompleteness as it relates to both Obsessive-

Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Incompleteness is a

construct which was developed to describe symptoms of OCD which are not accounted for using

a traditional, harm-avoidance and fear-based conceptualization. Unlike harm-avoidance based

OCD, in which an individual engages in compulsions to prevent some feared outcome,

individuals with incompleteness-based OCD engage in compulsions to resolve an internal feeling

that their experience is uneven, asymmetrical, incomplete, or not-just-right.

Recently, researchers have begun to examine feelings of incompleteness in the context of

other disorders, such as ASD. This dissertation expands upon that literature, and aimed to

investigate whether incompleteness may be one construct which links OCD and ASD, which

demonstrate comorbidity in clinical populations. Additionally, this dissertation project aimed to

generate behavioral tasks which could be used to model various symptoms of OCD and ASD in

the laboratory; namely, through the development of novel computerized Approach-Avoidance

Tasks (AATs). Study limitations are considered in detail. Implications for the study of

incompleteness in OCD and ASD are also considered.


93 pages




Northern Illinois University

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