Yale–Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale

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The Yale–Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale, sometimes referred to as Y-BOCS, is a test to rate the severity of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms.

The scale, which was designed by Wayne Goodman and his colleagues, is used extensively in research and clinical practice to both determine severity of OCD and to monitor improvement during treatment.[1] This scale, which measures obsessions separately from compulsions, specifically measures the severity of symptoms of obsessive–compulsive disorder without being biased towards the type of content of obsessions or compulsions present.[2][3]



The scale is a clinician-rated, 10-item scale, each item rated from 0 (no symptoms) to 4 (extreme symptoms), yielding a total possible score range from 0 to 40. The scale includes questions about the amount of time the patient spends on obsessions, how much impairment or distress they experience, and how much resistance and control they have over these thoughts. The same types of questions are asked about compulsions (e.g., time spent, interference, etc.) as well. The results can be interpreted based on the total score:

  • 0–7 is sub-clinical;
  • 8–15 is mild;
  • 16–23 is moderate;
  • 24–31 is severe;
  • 32–40 is extreme.

Patients scoring in the mild range or higher are likely experiencing a significant negative impact on their quality of life and should consider professional help in alleviating obsessive–compulsive symptoms.

A self-rated version of the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale has been developed. The self-report and clinician-administered versions of the Y-BOCS are correlated to each other.[4]

Accuracy and modifications

Goodman and his colleagues have developed the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale—Second Edition (Y-BOCS-II)in an effort to modify the original scale which, according to Goodman, "[has become] the gold standard measure of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptom severity". In creating the Y-BOCS-II, changes were made "to the Severity Scale item content and scoring framework, integrating avoidance into the scoring of Severity Scale items, and modifying the Symptom Checklist content and format". After reliability tests, Goodman concluded that "Taken together, the Y-BOCS-II has excellent psychometric properties in assessing the presence and severity, of obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Although the Y-BOCS remains a reliable and valid measure, the Y-BOCS-II may provide an alternative method of assessing symptom presence and severity."[5]

Studies have been conducted by members of the Iranian Journal Of Psychiatry & Clinical Psychology to determine the accuracy of the Yale–Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (specifically as it appears in its Persian format). The members applied the scale to a group of individuals and, after ensuring a normal distribution of data, a series of reliability tests were performed. According to the journal, "[the] results supported satisfactory validity and reliability of translated form of Yale-brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale for research and clinical diagnostic applications".[6]

See also

External links


  1. Goodman W.K, Price L.H, Rasmussen S.A, et al. The Yale–Brown Obsessive–Compulsive Scale. I. Development, use, and reliability. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1989;46:1006–1011. PMID 2684084
  2. Rosario-Campos MC, Miguel EC, The Dimensional Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (DY-BOCS): an instrument for assessing obsessive-compulsive symptom dimensions. Mol Psychiatry. 2006 May;11(5):495-504 PMID 16432526
  3. Garnaat SL, Norton PJ. Factor structure and measurement invariance of the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale across four racial/ethnic groups. J Anxiety Disord. 2010 May 24. PMID 20541907
  4. Federici A, Summerfeldt LJ, et. al Consistency between self-report and clinician-administered versions of the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale.J Anxiety Disord. 2010 May 24. PMID 20561767
  5. Storch, E. A., Larson, M. J., Goodman, W. K., Rasmussen, S. A., Price, L. H., & Murphy, T. K. (2010). Development and Psychometric Evaluation of the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale—Second Edition. Psychological Assessment, 22(2), 223-232. doi:10.10371a0018492
  6. Esfahani, S., Motaghipour, Y., Kamkari, K., Zahiredin, A., & Janbozorgi, M. (2012). Reliability and Validity of the Persian Version of the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS). (English). Iranian Journal Of Psychiatry & Clinical Psychology, 17(4), 297-303.