ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 5, Issue 2, 123-133, 2014
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The Role of Domain-Specific Disgust Propensity in Behavioral Avoidance and Self-Reported Fainting Symptoms in Blood-Injection-Injury Phobia

Megan A. Viar-Paxton(a), Andrew J. Tomarken(a), Michelle K. Pemble(b), Bunmi O. Olatunji(a)
(a) Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA
(b) University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA

Volume 5, Issue 2, 2014, Pages 123-133

Recent research has implicated the role of disgust in avoidance and fainting associated with blood-injection-injury (BII) phobia. While several studies suggest that disgust propensity has a 'domain-specific' association (e.g. animal-reminder disgust) with these features of BII phobia, other studies have found a more generalized association (e.g. animal reminder and core disgust). The present study attempts to address this inconsistency in the literature by utilizing in vivo behavioral exposure to examine the role of disgust in avoidance and fainting among BII fearful (n = 38) and non-fearful (n = 35) participants. Avoidance and fainting symptoms were assessed during exposure to threat-relevant (bloody gauze, severed deer leg) and threat-irrelevant (worm, cockroach) stimuli. Contrary to hypotheses, regression analyses revealed that when the stimulus was threat-relevant, disgust propensity did not predict avoidance above and beyond BII fear. However, when the stimulus was threat-irrelevant, generalized disgust propensity predicted avoidance. Further, generalized disgust propensity predicted fainting symptoms during exposure to threat-relevant and threat-irrelevant stimuli above and beyond BII fear, whereas animal-reminder disgust did not. Implications of these findings for conceptualizing the role of disgust propensity domains in avoidance and fainting associated with BII phobia are discussed.

Table of Contents
  Participant Selection
    Disgust Questionnaire.
    Perceived symptoms questionnaire.
    Emotion rating scales.
    Behavioral Stimuli.
  Validation of Group Membership
  Emotional Ratings of Behavioral Stimuli
  Group Differences in Behavioral Avoidance and Fainting Symptoms
  Incremental Specificity of Disgust Domains

Correspondence to
Megan Viar-Paxton, Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, 312 Wilson Hall, 111 21st Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37203, USA

blood, disgust, behavioral avoidance, exposure, BII

Received 18 Jun 2012; Revised 15 Aug 2013; Accepted 15 Oct 2013; In Press 30 Mar 2014

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