Disgust propensity in obsessive-compulsive disorder: Cross-sectional and prospective relationships

David Berle*, Vladan Starcevic, Vlasios Brakoulias, Peter Sammut, Denise Milicevic, Anthony Hannan, Karen Moses

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)


    Background and Objectives: Findings from non-clinical samples suggest that disgust propensity is associated with contamination concerns in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, studies of clinical samples have yielded conflicting results. We investigated the relationship between disgust propensity and OCD symptoms in a clinical sample and examined whether changes in disgust propensity are associated with changes in OCD symptoms. Methods: One hundred and nine OCD participants completed measures of disgust propensity and OCD symptoms. Sixty of these underwent a six-month follow-up assessment. Results: At the baseline assessment, disgust propensity was associated with all OCD symptom dimensions except hoarding. Changes in overall disgust propensity between baseline and the six-month follow-up assessment were associated with changes in overall self-reported OCD symptoms but not with changes in contamination-based OCD symptoms or changes in interviewer-assessed OCD symptoms. Limitations: There was substantial participant attrition between the baseline and follow-up assessments. Conclusions: Our study is the first to investigate prospective relationships between disgust propensity and OCD across a six-month interval. Our findings suggest that if there is an association between changes in disgust propensity and changes in contamination-based OCD symptoms its magnitude is likely to be small.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)656-663
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


    • Clinical sample
    • Contamination fears
    • Disgust
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
    • Prospective study


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