Multimodal assessment of disgust in contamination-related obsessive-compulsive disorder

Bunmi O. Olatunji, Jeffrey M. Lohr, Craig N. Sawchuk, David F. Tolin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


The present study utilizes multiple methods to examine the relationship between disgust and contamination-related obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms in an analogue sample. Questionnaire findings revealed that participants with high OCD contamination concerns showed stronger disgust sensitivity than did participants with low OCD contamination symptoms after controlling for negative affect. High OCD participants (N=30) also reported significantly more disgust than did low OCD participants (N=30) when exposed to a disgust-inducing video, whereas no significant between-group differences were detected on other negative emotional dimensions. Results from a series of disgust-specific behavioral avoidance tasks (BATs) revealed that high OCD participants demonstrated both less compliance and less approach behavior. Subsequent analysis also revealed that disgust sensitivity generally mediated avoidance on the BATs among high OCD subjects. High OCD participants also rated the BATs as more fearful and disgusting than did low OCD participants, with disgust generally emerging as the dominant emotional response. The results are consistent with a disgust-based, disease-avoidance approach in understanding contamination-related OCD themes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-276
Number of pages14
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007


  • Behavioral Avoidance
  • Contamination
  • Disgust
  • Emotions
  • Fear
  • OCD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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