An investigation of the emotion of disgust as an affective barrier to intention to screen for colorectal cancer

M. Davis, M. Oaten*, S. Occhipinti, S. K. Chambers, R. J. Stevenson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening participation remains unacceptably low. This study investigated the emotion of disgust as a potential deterrent to intention to screen for CRC. The study utilised a convenience sample of individuals' 40-70 years of age to complete an online survey. Participants included 30 men and 118 women recruited between December 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014. Data on socio-demographics, health status, screening intentions and emotional barriers to bowel screening were collected via an on-line survey. Logistic regression analysis was utilised to investigate predictors of screening intention. Individuals were more likely to report intention to screen if they had prior screening experience, and reported fewer emotional concerns to screening for CRC. Results implicate disgust as a predictor of screening avoidance among participants. Specifically, higher reported faecal disgust was predictive of a 3% decrease in screening intention. This study was the first to empirically position disgust alongside other negative emotional states as an affective barrier to screening for CRC. Trait disgust sensitivity was not a reliable predictor of screening intention. This research suggests that anticipated faecal disgust may contribute to avoidance of screening for CRC.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12582
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
Issue number4
Early online date5 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


  • colorectal cancer
  • disgust
  • disgust sensitivity
  • screening
  • screening intention

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