Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Psychology



First Advisor

Danielle J. Maack

Second Advisor

Alan M. Gross

Third Advisor

John N. Young

Relational Format



Lifetime prevalence rates for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are estimated to be 6% in the general population. In the United States alone, an estimated 5.2 million adults will experience PTSD within the year (National Comorbidity Survey, 2005). However, a much larger number of the population will experience some form of trauma over the course of their lifetime. Research has demonstrated that the development of PTSD may be attributed to some factors (e.g., temperamental vulnerabilities, social ecological factors), which may predispose individuals to the development of the disorder. The purpose of this study was to test the association of moral disgust with scrupulosity and posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS). Disgust, one of the six basic emotions is most commonly associated with facial grimaces in response to foods or dangerous substances. Particularly, moral disgust is said to occur when an individual experiences a negative reaction to moral violations or views actions as “sick,” “twisted,” or lacking normal human motives (Rozin, Haidt, & McCauley, 2000). Results revealed that scrupulosity and obsessionality were each positively correlated with posttraumatic stress symptoms (p = .41, p = .39 respectively). Moral disgust ratings were also correlated to obsessionality (p = .21), but not posttraumatic stress symptoms (p = .03, not significant). A hierarchical regression revealed moral disgust did not predict PTSS when controlling for scrupulosity; however, post-hoc analyses suggested that the overall TDDS did significantly contribute to the regression model. Implications of the findings and future directions are discussed.


Emphasis: Clinical Psychology

Included in

Psychology Commons



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