The Disgust Scale: Item Analysis, Factor Structure, and Suggestions for Refinement

Bunmi O. Olatunji, Nathan L. Williams, David F. Tolin, Jonathan S. Abramowitz, Craig N. Sawchuk, Jeffrey M. Lohr, Lisa S. Elwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

446 Scopus citations


In the 4 studies presented (N = 1,939), a converging set of analyses was conducted to evaluate the item adequacy, factor structure, reliability, and validity of the Disgust Scale (DS; J. Haidt, C. McCauley, & P. Rozin, 1994). The results suggest that 7 items (i.e., Items 2, 7, 8, 21, 23, 24, and 25) should be considered for removal from the DS. Secondary to removing the items, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses revealed that the DS taps 3 dimensions of disgust: Core Disgust, Animal Reminder Disgust, and Contamination-Based Disgust. Women scored higher than men on the 3 disgust dimensions. Structural modeling provided support for the specificity of the 3-factor model, as Core Disgust and Contamination-Based Disgust were significantly predictive of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) concerns, whereas Animal Reminder Disgust was not. Results from a clinical sample indicated that patients with OCD washing concerns scored significantly higher than patients with OCD without washing concerns on both Core Disgust and Contamination-Based Disgust, but not on Animal Reminder Disgust. These findings are discussed in the context of the refinement of the DS to promote a more psychometrically sound assessment of disgust sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-297
Number of pages17
JournalPsychological Assessment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Disgust Scale
  • disgust sensitivity
  • factor analysis
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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