Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

1-1-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. in Psychology

First Advisor

Danielle J Maack

Second Advisor

Alan Gross

Third Advisor

Mervin Matthew

School

University of Mississippi

Relational Format

dissertation/thesis

Abstract

Emetophobia, also known as the specific phobia of vomiting (SPOV), is a clinical disorder with severe symptomatology and chronicity. However, there remains a significant lack of knowledge in overall conceptualization and etiological understanding. Recent literature has described this disorder within the context of abnormal eating disorders, despite the essential difference in symptom function between SPOV and disordered eating (Keyes & Veale, 2018; Volpe et al., 2015). Therefore, the present study sought to further the conceptualization and delineation of symptoms of emetophobia and disordered eating, as well as their potential relation with disgust. More specifically, it was hypothesized that symptoms of emetophobia and disordered eating would be positively correlated with the overall emotion of disgust. Further, it was hypothesized that disordered eating symptoms would no longer be associated with emetophobia symptoms when controlling for disgust. It was also hypothesized that females would endorse more symptoms of disordered eating and emetophobia than males. Finally, it was hypothesized that the subscales of the EAT-26 would differentially be associated with SPOV symptoms. Using an archival data sample, 184 participants completed self-report measures to assess symptoms of emetophobia, disordered eating, and disgust. Demographics were as follows: 74.0% female and 71.4% White (Mage= 19.1, SD= 1.70). Results found a significant association between symptoms of emetophobia and overall disordered eating symptoms. Further, SPOV symptoms were positively associated with the subscales of dieting and bulimia and food preoccupation but were not associated with the subscale of oral control. Among all participants (N= 184), there were no sex differences found between emetophobia or disordered eating symptoms. However, among participants who endorsed clinical levels of either disordered eating or emetophobia symptoms, females reported significantly more symptoms of both disorders than males. Finally, although disgust was significantly associated with disordered eating symptoms, it was neither associated with nor predictive of symptoms of emetophobia in the current study. The current study provides preliminary research indicating emetophobia is significantly associated with disordered eating symptoms regardless of individual levels of disgust. Further, these findings suggest that the emotion of disgust may differentiate these two constructs and potentially provide predictive utility. Therefore, additional research into the conceptualization of emetophobia and disordered eating symptoms are warranted.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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