Structural differentiation of disgust from trait anxiety in the prediction of specific anxiety disorder symptoms.Behav Res Ther. 2007 Dec; 45(12):3002-17.BR
Research has begun to implicate the role of disgust in the etiology of specific phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, it remains unclear if the association between disgust and specific anxiety disorder symptoms is an artifact of trait anxiety or a potential mechanism through which trait anxiety effects specific anxiety disorder symptoms. The present study employed structural equation modeling to differentiate disgust from trait anxiety in the prediction of four types of specific anxiety disorder symptoms in a non-clinical sample (N=352). Results indicate that disgust and trait anxiety latent factors were independently related to spider fears, blood-injection-injury (BII) fears, general OCD symptoms, and OCD washing concerns. However, when both variables were simultaneously modeled as predictors, latent disgust remained significantly associated with the anxiety disorder symptoms, whereas the association between latent trait anxiety and the anxiety disorder symptoms became non-significant or was substantially reduced. Statistical tests of intervening variable effects converged in support of disgust as a significant intervening variable between trait anxiety and spider fears, BII fears, and OCD symptoms (particularly washing concerns). The relevance of these findings for future research investigating the role of disgust in specific anxiety disorders is discussed.