Preliminary Evidence for a Unique Role of Disgust-Based Conditioning in Posttraumatic Stress

Christal L. Badour, Matthew T. Feldner, Heidemarie Blumenthal, Ashley Knapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Independent lines of evidence have linked posttraumatic stress symptomatology to both peritraumatic disgust (i.e., disgust experienced during a traumatic event) and posttraumatic disgust reactivity in response to traumatic event cues among individuals exposed to traumatic events. Much of this work suggests disgust, defined as a rejection/revulsion response aimed at distancing oneself from a potential source of contamination, may be important in understanding the nature of posttraumatic stress reactions even after accounting for the more frequently studied affective states of fear and anxiety. The current investigation provided a preliminary test of a model of disgust in posttraumatic stress among a sample of 54 community-recruited women with a history sexual victimization. Both peritraumatic disgust (r = .31) and posttraumatic disgust reactivity (r = .42) in response to an idiographic traumatic event script were significantly associated with posttraumatic stress symptom severity. After accounting for variability-associated peritraumatic fear and posttraumatic anxious reactivity, an indirect effect of peritraumatic disgust through posttraumatic disgust reactivity also was found, suggesting that one mechanism through which peritraumatic disgust relates to posttraumatic stress is through its relation with increased posttraumatic disgust reactivity. These findings highlight the importance of further elucidating the nature of disgust in relation to traumatic events and subsequent posttraumatic stress reactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-287
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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