Disgust sensitivity as a mediator of the sex differences in contamination fears

Bunmi O. Olatunji, Craig N. Sawchuk, Willem A. Arrindell, Jeffrey M. Lohr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Previous research has shown a relationship between disgust sensitivity and OCD-related contamination fear. Review of these findings suggests that females generally report higher levels of contamination fear and disgust sensitivity than males. Using a mediational model, the present study sought to determine if the sex difference in contamination fears could be accounted for by the sex difference in disgust sensitivity in a sample of undergraduate participants (N=259). Strong support for this hypothesis was found. Moreover, holding constant the influences of potential confounds such as trait anxiety, anxiety sensitivity, and biological sex, disgust sensitivity emerged as a potent, independent predictor of contamination fears. The clinical and research implications regarding the relationship between biological sex and the fear of contamination and how they might be related to disgust sensitivity and anxiety symptoms are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)713-722
Number of pages10
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2005


  • Contamination fears
  • Disgust sensitivity
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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