Examination of increased mental contamination as a potential mechanism in the association between disgust sensitivity and sexual assault-related posttraumatic stress

Christal L. Badour, Matthew T. Feldner, Heidemarie Blumenthal, Sarah J. Bujarski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Disgust sensitivity and feelings of mental contamination have both been independently linked to posttraumatic stress symptoms following sexual assault. Theory suggests that feelings of mental contamination may arise, at least in part, as a result of interpreting feelings of disgust experienced in relation to sexual assault to mean that one has been contaminated or tainted by the experience. This study involved an initial test of this model by examining relations among disgust sensitivity, feelings of mental contamination, and posttraumatic stress symptom severity among a sample of female sexual assault victims. Results suggested that one mechanism through which disgust sensitivity might relate to posttraumatic stress symptom severity is through its association with increased feelings of mental contamination. These findings highlight the importance of assessing feelings of disgust and mental contamination among victims of sexual assault, and the need for future research to elucidate the nature of these relations with posttraumatic stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-703
Number of pages7
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Volume37
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This investigation was supported by the National Institutes of Health under Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (F31 MH092994-01) awarded to the first author.

Keywords

  • Disgust
  • Mental contamination
  • PTSD
  • Posttraumatic stress
  • Sexual assault

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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