Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Psychology



First Advisor

Danielle J. Maack

Second Advisor

Laura J. Dixon

Third Advisor

Scott A. Gustafson

Relational Format



The present study used archival data (N = 194) consisting of responses from a battery of questionnaires and data from eight behavioral avoidance tasks (BATs). Correlational analyses demonstrated that disgust sensitivity, anxiety sensitivity, state disgust and anxiety ratings during BATs, and behavioral avoidance on BATs were significantly correlated. Higher disgust sensitivity and behavioral avoidance was also associated with being female. Unexpectedly, emotion dysregulation was not correlated with disgust sensitivity or behavioral avoidance. Next, a series of hierarchical multiple linear regressions indicated that the contamination disgust domain appeared to be the strongest predictor of behavioral avoidance on core- and contamination-related BATs, while animal reminder disgust appeared to be the strongest on animal reminder-related BATs. Surprisingly, core disgust did not individually predict avoidance on any associated BATs. A subsequent hierarchical multiple linear regression demonstrated that disgust sensitivity (Step 4) uniquely predicted steps refused on the BATs while controlling for gender (Step 1), state disgust and anxiety ratings (Step 2), and anxiety sensitivity and emotion dysregulation (Step 3). Interestingly, this model was not significant when examining distance approached on the BATs, and neither anxiety sensitivity nor emotion dysregulation significantly contributed to either models. Lastly, moderation analyses revealed that emotion dysregulation and anxiety sensitivity did not moderate the relationship between disgust sensitivity and behavioral avoidance. Overall, findings from the present study highlight that sensitivity towards the emotion of disgust is particularly important to increased behavioral avoidance in this context.

Included in

Psychology Commons



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