Disgust Sensitivity as a Predictor of Obsessive-Compulsive Contamination Symptoms and Associated Cognitions

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Disgust, Contamination, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Mediated model, Trait anxiety


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Disgust sensitivity has been hypothesized to play a key role in the etiology and maintenance of several anxiety disorders. The association between disgust sensitivity, trait anxiety, and washing and contamination-related concerns was tested using two different measures of obsessive-compulsive contamination fears using linear structural modeling. Two different models were tested, one where trait anxiety mediated the relationship between disgust sensitivity and contamination fear, and a second model unmediated by trait anxiety. A total of 740 undergraduates completed self-report measures of disgust sensitivity, trait anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms for course credit. The results indicated that there was insufficient evidence for the mediating role of trait anxiety, and the more parsimonious structural models specifying direct effects between disgust sensitivity and both washing and contamination concerns fit the data well. The results of this research support the central role of disgust in contamination fear.

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Peer Reviewed



APA Citation: Moretz, M.W. & McKay, D. (2007). Disgust sensitivity as a predictor of obsessive-compulsive contamination symptoms and associated cognitions. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 22(4), 707-715.