Disgust sensitivity and obsessive-compulsive symptoms in a non-clinical sample.J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2006 Mar; 37(1):30-40.JB
Disgust sensitivity has been posited to play a role in the etiology and/or maintenance of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); however, results of studies in this area have been mixed. We examined the relationship between specific domains of disgust sensitivity and specific OCD symptom patterns. One thousand and five undergraduate volunteers completed an internet battery of questionnaires including measures of OCD symptoms, depression, anxiety, and disgust sensitivity. Results indicated that even when controlling for depression and anxiety, several OCD symptom groups (checking, ordering, and washing) were associated with disgust sensitivity. Analysis of residuals, in which we controlled for every other OCD and disgust sensitivity domain for each paired comparison, indicated that the clearest relationship was between washing symptoms of OCD and disgust sensitivity toward hygiene-related stimuli. Examination of these items, however, raises questions about whether commonly accepted measures of disgust sensitivity might confound disgust with other forms of aversion. We discuss possible strategies for clarifying the degree to which fear and disgust are involved in OCD symptoms.