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Obsession with COVID-19 Scale

Obsession with COVID-19 Scale

What is OCS

The Obsession with COVID-19 Scale (OCS) is a self-report mental health screener of persistent and disturbed thinking about COVID-19. Because the COVID-19 crisis affects nearly every aspect of a person’s life, the OCS was developed to help clinicians and researchers efficiently identify cases of individuals functionally impaired by their COVID-19 related thinking patterns.

OCS Printable PDF

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OCS Scoring and Interpretation

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What does OCS measure

The purpose of the evaluation is to:

  • identify cases of individuals functionally impaired by their COVID-19 related thinking patterns



Type of outcome tool


Assessment modes


Age and eligibility

18 years and above

Estimated time

Less than 2 minutes


Since the questionnaire relies on client self-report, all responses should be verified by the clinician, and a definitive diagnosis is made on clinical grounds taking into account how well the client understood the questionnaire, as well as other relevant information from the client.

Elevated scores on a particular item or a high total scale score (≥ 7) may indicate problematic symptoms for the individual that might warrant further assessment and/or treatment. Clinical judgement should guide the interpretation of the OCS results.

Psychometric properties: The OCS was developed on two large samples of adults (n = 775; n = 398) residing across the United States. The OCS is a reliable instrument (αs > .83), with solid factorial (single-factor) and construct (correlated with coronavirus anxiety, spiritual crisis, alcohol/drug coping, extreme hopelessness, and suicidal ideation) validity. The diagnostic properties of the OCS (81% to 93% sensitivity and 73% to 76% specificity) are comparable to related screening instruments, such as the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ).

Attribution and References

Lee S. A. (2020). How much "Thinking" about COVID-19 is clinically dysfunctional?. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 87, 97–98.