Change in Disgust Reactions Following Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Childhood Anxiety Disorders

Document Type



Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Disgust, in addition to fear, is a prominent emotional state associated with avoidance of distressing stimuli. While most of the research in disgust has been conducted in relation to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), recent data has also implicated disgust in the etiology of anxiety disorders in general. Studies have shown that decreases in disgust are key to symp- tom reduction in individuals with OCD. However, there has been little empirical work exploring whether these interventions are efficacious for childhood anxiety disorders that present with prominent disgust components. This study examined how disgust propensity in children with anxiety disorders responds to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with an emphasis on exposure. Forty-one children, ages 7 to 17, with anxiety disorders were evaluated for disgust propensity and were treated with intensive, weekly, CBT. It was found that disgust levels decreased follow- ing treatment across all anxiety disorder diagnoses, where children with primary OCD exhibited significantly greater reductions. Clinical implications and suggestions for further research of the treatment of disgust in relation to childhood anxiety disorders are discussed.

Article Number


Publication Date






Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.