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J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2006 Mar;37(1):4-15. Epub 2005 Oct 25.

Using controlled comparisons in disgust psychopathology research: the case of disgust, hypochondriasis and health anxiety.

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Department of Psychology, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9QH, UK.


The present paper describes the results of a study investigating the relationship between measures of disgust and measures of hypochondriasis and health anxiety. The results indicated that (1) there were highly significant correlations between measures of trait disgust and disgust sensitivity and measures of hypochondriasis and health anxiety, (2) the relationship between disgust sensitivity measures and hypochondriasis and health anxiety were still significant even when levels of trait anxiety were controlled for, but (3) controlled comparisons revealed that the measures of disgust also predicted scores on measures of disgust-irrelevant control psychopathologies (claustrophobia and height phobia)--even after trait anxiety had been partialled out. In addition, the series of multiple regressions carried out clearly indicated that trait anxiety and disgust sensitivity appear to be independent constructs each of which have relationships with anxious psychopathologies over and above the effect of the other. The discussion explores the nature of the possible relationships between disgust, hypochondriasis and health anxiety, and also looks at the implications for disgust psychopathology research of using controlled comparisons which indicate the existence of significant relationships between measures of disgust and anxious psychopathologies that, a priori, would be considered to be disgust irrelevant.

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