The role of disgust in blood -injury -injection phobia

Erica M Chin, Fordham University


The separate and combined roles of fear and disgust in mediating phobic responding in blood-injection-injury (BII) phobia have generated recent empirical interest. In the present study disgust and fear were manipulated in the context of a repeated exposure task involving blood injection video stimuli. 42 non clinical participants reporting medical fears of blood and injections were randomly assigned to conditions in which neutral, disgusting, and fear provoking video stimuli were introduced into a video based blood draw habituation sequence. Exposure to a disgust related video increased self reported disgust and anxiety when participants resumed viewing of a blood draw video. However, exposure to a fear inducing video enhanced anxiety levels, but not disgust levels. Although the experimental videos failed to affect the relative long term rate of habituation, disgust was found to have a unique role in magnifying anxiety in blood injection fear. In addition to subjective self report, participants' facial EMG data evidenced primary disgust responding during exposure to a video depicting a blood draw. Findings did not support either parasympathetic or sympathetic nervous system activation in disgust responding. Lastly, in a regression analysis disgust sensitivity failed to predict BII symptoms when medical fears were controlled for in sample of 338 non clinical participants. However, disgust sensitivity was significantly associated with BII symptoms and found to predict medical fears. The findings suggest that although the relationship between fear and disgust in BII phobia is a complex one, that disgust plays a significant role in the maintenance of BII phobia.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Chin, Erica M, "The role of disgust in blood -injury -injection phobia" (2007). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3286416.