Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Master of Science




Butler, Blake E.


Misophonia is a disorder involving an aversion to specific ordinary sounds, such as chewing and breathing. These “trigger” sounds can be easily ignored by typically-developed listeners, but elicit negative emotional reactions, physiological stress, and cognitive impairment in people with misophonia. The severity of the misophonic reaction differs between individuals but is often accompanied by psychological distress. However, misophonia is not yet classified as a psychological disorder in diagnostic manuals, largely because it is unclear how it should be defined and assessed. The current study aims to provide evidence of reliability and validity for the MisoQuest–a measure recently developed by Siepsiak and colleagues (2020a) to capture misophonia symptom severity. The MisoQuest was originally developed in Polish, and this study is the first to investigate the psychometric properties of the English-translated MisoQuest in an English-speaking sample. We demonstrate that the English-translated MisoQuest has excellent internal consistency, strong test re-test reliability over five-weeks, and that scores on the measure specifically tap misophonia symptom severity rather than generalized anxiety or broader sensory sensitivities. We also provide evidence of criterion validity by demonstrating that higher MisoQuest scores predict poorer performance on cognitive tasks in the presence of trigger sounds relative to silence. Overall, the results of this study indicate that the MisoQuest is a reliable and useful measure for identifying misophonia in English-speaking individuals and that scores on this measure are related to clinically relevant outcomes.

Summary for Lay Audience

People experience sound differently from one another. Ordinary sounds, like people chewing and breathing, are typically tuned out, but can cause some individuals to experience a sudden surge of rage and anxiety. This atypical reaction occurs in misophonia–a disorder involving an extreme aversion to specific “trigger” sounds. Misophonia can be emotionally distressing, can negatively impact cognitive functioning, and may be socially detrimental. However, misophonia is not officially recognized as a psychological disorder, largely because it is unclear how to define and measure it. It is important to have methods of measuring misophonia that accurately capture the symptoms consistently over time and across different populations. A recently developed questionnaire that measures misophonia symptom severity called the MisoQuest has been shown to have these properties in Polish-speaking individuals but had not yet been evaluated in English-speaking individuals. The current study aims to advance our understanding of how to effectively measure misophonia by evaluating the properties of the MisoQuest in English-speaking individuals. We demonstrate that scores on the MisoQuest are consistent over time and specifically measure misophonia rather than general anxiety or broader sensory sensitivities. In addition, we show that individuals with greater symptom severity also show poorer performance on tasks that require attention when trigger sounds are present. This indicates that scores on the MisoQuest are associated with functions that are important to an individual’s everyday life. Overall, this study supports the MisoQuest as a method of measuring and identifying misophonia, which is important for research progress and quality of patient care in clinical settings.

Available for download on Tuesday, December 31, 2024