Disgust and disgust sensitivity in blood-injection-injury and spider phobia

David F. Tolin, Jeffrey M. Lohr, Craig N. Sawchuk, Thomas C. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations


Blood-injection-injury (BII) phobics and spider phobics show markedly different cognitive, psychophysiological, and motoric reactions to activating stimuli. These observations have led theorists to question whether the emotion of fear mediates both phobias. The present study examined the role of disgust and disgust sensitivity in these subtypes of specific phobia. BII phobics, spider-phobics, and nonphobics completed questionnaires and rated pictures of specific objects on fear and disgust scales. Questionnaire data indicated that phobic participants were higher than nonphobics on fear and also on disgust sensitivity. The reaction of BII phobics to pictures of medical stimuli was one of disgust, rather than fear. The reaction of spider phobics to pictures of spiders was a combination of fear and disgust, though fear appeared to predominate. Results are discussed in view of current theories of emotional factors in specific phobia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)949-953
Number of pages5
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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