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A further exploration of disgust in eating disorders

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Disgust is an emotion that is intimately linked to food and eating and it has been proposed that disgust may therefore be an important emotion in eating disorders. However, empirical evidence has been mixed.


Two hundred and eight participants with a history of eating disorders completed measures of current and past eating disorder symptoms and a disgust questionnaire measuring disgust sensitivity in five domains (foodstuffs of animal origin, human body and body products, invertebrate animals, gastroenteric products, sexual practices).


Despite some differences with previous results, both current and remitted eating disorder volunteers reported higher levels of disgust towards foodstuffs of animal origin and to the human body and its products. In addition, those in remission from an eating disorder had lower levels of disgust towards the human body and its products than did those who were still ill but these groups did not differ in their disgust towards foodstuffs of animal origin.


It is concluded that eating disorders are not associated with an increased global disgust sensitivity but that this is specific to areas that concern food and the body. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, London Guildhall University, London, UK 2: Eating Disorders Unit, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK 3: Department of Psychiatry, St. Georges Hospital, London, UK

Publication date: May 1, 2002

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