Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wu, Kevin D.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


In the existing Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) research literature, some of its “symptom dimensions” have been studied more extensively than others (McKay et al., 2004; McLean et al., 2001). Symmetry and ordering concerns, for example, have been the subject of far less research than washing or checking symptoms. In one of the few extant studies of these concerns, Radomsky and Rachman (2004a) found that participants with elevated ordering concerns reported higher anxiety in response to a stressful task when assigned to a disorganized office space, as opposed to an organized one. The current study was intended as a replication of theirs in a larger sample.

One hundred twenty-six undergraduate students from Northern Illinois University were recruited for this study, and sorted into “high” and “low” ordering groups based on self-report scores of ordering concerns. Participants were randomized to work in either an organized or disorganized office space, and post-test anxiety ratings were gathered as the major dependent variable. Multiple regression was used to test the primary hypothesis that participants in the high ordering concerns/disorganized condition would be most anxious at post-test. Despite an increase in statistical power as compared to the original study, this hypothesis was not supported: Neither self-reported ordering concerns nor room condition (nor the interaction of these two variables) was found to contribute to post-test anxiety ratings. Study limitations are considered in detail. Also considered are the implications of these findings for the study of OCD-ordering symptoms, and for replication efforts of published research more broadly.


93 pages




Northern Illinois University

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