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

Mervin Matthew


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



The current study included 149 students from the University of Mississippi as apart of an archival dataset from a larger lab study. Results from the primary analyses indicate that all variables of interest (i.e. contamination fear, disgust sensitivity, and emotion regulation) were significantly correlated with OC symptoms. However, despite disgust’s associations with OC symptoms, results from regression analysis suggest that neither general disgust nor individual domains of disgust were predictive of contamination-based OC symptoms above and beyond contamination fear. Results from the hierarchical regression analysis emphasize the prominent role that contamination fear has on contamination-based OC symptoms. Further, sex differences were observed in contamination fear and disgust sensitivity such that females endorsed higher levels of each whereas no differences in general emotion regulation were observed between males and females. The observed lack of sex differences in emotion regulation supports the transdiagnostic nature of emotion regulation and shows that it occurs similarly among males and females. Moderation analysis suggests that while both emotion regulation and disgust sensitivity were independently related to OC symptoms, there did not appear to be a particular level of each that strengthened disgust’s impact on symptoms. Thus, contrary to study predictions, increased emotion dysregulation did not appear to moderate disgust’s relationship to contamination-based OC symptoms. Overall, results from the current study suggest that contamination fear, disgust, and emotion regulation are not uniformly related to contamination-based OC symptoms. These findings underscore the need for continued research on factors impacting contamination-based symptoms to properly conceptualize and treat contamination-based OCD. Lifetime prevalence rates for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are estimated to be 2-3% in the general population. Recently, research has demonstrated that the emotion of disgust plays an important role in the elicitation of contamination fear in contamination-based OCD. Further, associations between obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms and emotion regulation have been identified. The purpose of the current study was to contribute to a broader understanding of the unique and combined affects that contamination fear, disgust, and emotion dysregulation have on the endorsement of OC symptoms. Specifically, the current study aimed to explore disgust in the prediction of OC symptoms as well as to examine the role of emotion regulation in the relationship between disgust and OC symptoms.



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