Examination of the decline in fear and disgust during exposure to threat-relevant stimuli in blood-injection-injury phobia.J Anxiety Disord. 2007; 21(3):445-55.JA
In the present study, participants (N=22) displaying marked fear of blood-injection-injury (BII) stimuli were provided 30 min of in vivo exposure to threat-relevant stimuli, during which time their fear and disgust levels were repeatedly assessed. Growth curve analyses were then conducted to examine the decay slopes in both fear and disgust and their relationship. Results indicated that exposure led to significant declines in fear and disgust across trials. However, the decay slope observed for fear was significantly greater than that for disgust. Further analyses revealed that the decline in fear across trials remained significant after accounting for the changes in disgust. However, the effect of trial on disgust was no longer significant after controlling for the reduction in fear. Global disgust sensitivity levels prior to exposure did not moderate the level of fear activation or fear reduction during exposure. BII-specific digust sensitivity was also not associated with initial levels of fear. However, levels of BII-specific disgust sensitivity were independently negatively associated with fear decline. Theoretical and clinical implications of the findings are discussed.