Title

In Vivo Measurement of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Symptoms Using Palmtop Computers

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-1-1998

Department

Psychology

Abstract

We used palmtop computers to gather in vivo self-report data on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms and other environmental and mood variables from 13 outpatients with OCD. The study participants carried palmtop computers with them for a period of 3 days. The computers beeped hourly between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., prompting participants to complete a computer-based questionnaire which included a modified version of the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS). The data were examined for evidence of circadian patterns in symptom intensity. No such patterns were evident. Several hypotheses regarding associations among symptoms of OCD, mood, and environmental factors were tested with mixed results. Data collected via computer-administered Y-BOCS questionnaires showed only moderate agreement with data from clinician-administered Y-BOCS interviews. Several problems in the design of the study were evident in hindsight. These problems are discussed and suggestions for the design of future studies and data-collection software are offered. The methods employed in this study could be adapted for research into other areas of normal and pathological psychological functioning. Furthermore, these methods may prove useful as fine-grained assessment tools in clinical settings. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Computers in Human Behavior

Volume

14

Issue

3

First Page

449

Last Page

462