The Relationship Between Obsessive Compulsive Beliefs and Symptoms, Anxiety and Disgust Sensitivity, and Swine Flu Fears

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Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Using the 2009 Swine Flu outbreak as a contemporary example of pandemic fears, this study examined the relationship between various symptoms related to anxiety sensitivity and Swine Flu fears. It was hypothesized that both obsessive–compulsive (OC) beliefs and OC symptoms would significantly predict Swine Flu fears. It was also hypothesized that symptoms of anxiety, including measures of anxiety sensitivity and disgust sensitivity would significantly mediate the relationship between both OC beliefs and OC symptoms and Swine Flu fears. A total of 393 undergraduate students completed measures of Swine Flu fears, anxiety sensitivity, OC beliefs and symptoms, and disgust sensitivity. It was found that both OC beliefs and OC symptoms significantly predicted Swine Flu fears. While disgust sensitivity significantly mediated the relationship between both OC beliefs and OC symptoms and Swine Flu fears using the Sobel test, anxiety sensitivity was a significant mediator only for OC symptoms. Additionally, path modeling showed that anxiety sensitivity mediated the relationship between OC symptoms and Swine Flu fears best. The results of this study may be useful for treating individuals suffering from anxiety in light of future pandemics, as well as continuing to research the role of anxiety symptoms in predicting pandemic fears

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Creative Commons License

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