Emotional responding to fearful and disgusting stimuli in specific phobics

Craig Sawchuk, Jeffrey M. Lohr, David H. Westendorf, Suzanne A. Meunier, David F. Tolin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

95 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Individuals with small animal and blood-injection-injury (BII) phobias respond to phobia-relevant stimuli with both fear and disgust. However, recent studies suggest that fear is the dominant emotional response in animal phobics whereas disgust is the primary emotional response in BII phobics. The present study examined emotional responding toward pictures of spiders, surgical procedures, and two categories of general disgust elicitors (rotting food and body products) among analogue spider phobics, BII phobics, and nonphobics. Dominant emotional responses to phobia-relevant stimuli clearly differentiated the groups, as spider phobics were more likely to be classified as primarily fearful when rating pictures of spiders (74%), whereas BII phobics were more likely to be classified as primarily disgusted when rating pictures of surgical procedures (78%). Discriminant function analyses revealed that disgust ratings, but not fear ratings, of the phobic pictures were significant predictors of phobic group membership. Both phobic groups were characterized by elevated disgust sensitivity toward video and pictorial general disgust elicitors. Implications and suggestions for continued research examining fearful and disgusting stimuli in specific phobia are outlined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1031-1046
Number of pages16
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Volume40
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Spiders
Phobic Disorders
Fear
Injections
Wounds and Injuries
Discriminant Analysis
Food
Disgust
Stimulus
Emotion
Research
Phobia
Blood
Rating
Emotional Response

Keywords

  • Disgust
  • Fear
  • Phobia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Emotional responding to fearful and disgusting stimuli in specific phobics. / Sawchuk, Craig; Lohr, Jeffrey M.; Westendorf, David H.; Meunier, Suzanne A.; Tolin, David F.

In: Behaviour Research and Therapy, Vol. 40, No. 9, 01.09.2002, p. 1031-1046.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Sawchuk, Craig ; Lohr, Jeffrey M. ; Westendorf, David H. ; Meunier, Suzanne A. ; Tolin, David F. / Emotional responding to fearful and disgusting stimuli in specific phobics. In: Behaviour Research and Therapy. 2002 ; Vol. 40, No. 9. pp. 1031-1046.
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