Trauma-related mental contamination, or a sense of dirtiness occurring without recent contact with a contaminant, is a distressing and often persistent phenomenon after sexual trauma. Following sexual trauma, cross-sectional work has demonstrated separate positive associations between mental contamination and (a) negative posttraumatic cognitions about oneself, the world, and/or self-blame and (b) disgust sensitivity, defined as the extent to which one is prone to distress when experiencing disgust. However, existing work has been primarily restricted to cross-sectional designs and has yet to consider the potential moderating role of disgust sensitivity in associations between negative posttraumatic cognitions and persistent mental contamination. The present study used a daily monitoring design to evaluate main and interactive effects of negative posttraumatic cognitions (about the self, world, and self-blame) and disgust sensitivity in predicting daily experiences of mental contamination among a sample of 39 women with a history of sexual trauma. Results revealed a significant main effect of posttraumatic cognitions about the self in predicting subsequent mental contamination. An unexpected interaction also emerged for posttraumatic cognitions about the world, wherein such cognitions only significantly predicted daily mental contamination among women high in disgust sensitivity. Findings offer preliminary understanding regarding the role of cognitions about the self in contributing to ongoing mental contamination as well as the potential contributing role of cognitions about the world among women more vulnerable to distress when experiencing disgust. Future work should consider the potential for bidirectional relationships between negative posttraumatic cognitions and trauma-related mental contamination.
|State||Accepted/In press - 2022|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the University of Kentucky Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women. This project was also supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through Grant UL1TR001998 at the National Institute of Health (NIH). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH or of the Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women.
© 2022 American Psychological Association
- Disgust sensitivity
- Mental contamination
- Posttraumatic cognitions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nursing (all)
- Emergency Medicine
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health