Disgust sensitivity, trait anxiety and anxiety disorders symptoms in normal children.Behav Res Ther. 1999 Oct; 37(10):953-61.BR
There is evidence to suggest that disgust sensitivity plays a role in the development of small animal fears and phobias. Recently, Phillips, Senior, Fahy, and David (1998) [Phillips, M. L., Senior, C., Fahy, T., & David, A. S. (1998). Disgust: the forgotten emotion of psychiatry. British Journal of Psychiatry, 172, 373-375.] suggested that disgust sensitivity is also involved in various other anxiety-based symptoms (e.g. obsessive-compulsive complaints, social phobia). The present study sought to test this suggestion in a large sample of normal school children (N = 189). Children completed a measure of disgust sensitivity, the trait anxiety version of the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children and the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders, an instrument that measures DSM-defined anxiety disorders symptoms. Disgust sensitivity was indeed found to be correlated with a broad range of anxiety disorders symptoms. However, results also indicated that these correlations were predominantly carried by trait anxiety. That is, when controlling for levels of trait anxiety, only specific phobia symptoms (including animal phobia, blood-injection-injury phobia and situational-environmental phobia) and separation anxiety disorder symptoms were significantly related to disgust sensitivity, although correlations were rather modest. Taken together, these findings cast doubts on the claim that disgust sensitivity is an unique and independent factor that contributes to a broad range of anxiety disorders.