Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wu, Kevin

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


The obsessions and compulsions that define the diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) traditionally have been characterized by harm avoidance. However, harm avoidance is neither specific to OCD nor does it comprehensively explain all symptoms with which individuals with OCD present. Emerging research has focused on incompleteness—and its manifestation through the phenomenon of not just right experiences (NJREs)—as a potential motivating factor for OCD symptoms. Whereas Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is conceptually relevant to—and empirically supported for treating—symptoms characterized by harm avoidance, there is an unclear connection between ERP and symptoms characterized by incompleteness. Research has begun to explore ways to more effectively intervene when working with presentations marked by incompleteness and NJREs. The current study sought to examine the utility of mindfulness in reducing distress following induction of an NJRE.One hundred sixty-two participants self-selected from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform and completed this remote study. Participants completed questionnaires, a task meant to induce NJRE-related distress, and were randomly assigned to complete one of three 10-minute interventions—mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation, or an active control activity. Baseline symptom scores did not illustrate the predicted pattern of results such that there was no clear differentiation between harm avoidance and incompleteness (r = .91) or in their relation with OC-relevant symptom scores. Additionally, the NJRE induction task did not significantly increase distress (t(161) = 1.38, p = .17). Following the randomly assigned interventions, there were no significant differences in distress (F(2, 159) = 0.52, p = .59). The findings and limitations of the present study are discussed, as well as implications for future research.


119 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type