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Differential disgust responding in people with cancer and implications for psychological wellbeing

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2/01/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Psychology and Health
Issue number1
Volume32
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)19-37
Publication statusPublished
Early online date12/09/16
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Objectives: Evidence suggests that disgust responses, known to negatively affect psychological wellbeing, may differ in people with cancer. We performed the first quantitative investigation of three discrete types of disgust trait - disgust propensity, sensitivity, and self-directed disgust - in people diagnosed with a broad range of cancers (versus cancer-free controls), and explored their associations with psychological wellbeing.

Design: In a cross-sectional survey design, 107 participants with heterogeneous cancer diagnoses, recruited from cancer charities and support groups, were matched with cancer-free controls by age and gender.

Outcome measures: Measures of the three disgust traits were taken alongside measures of anxiety and depression.

Results: Disgust sensitivity and physical self-disgust were significantly higher in the cancer than control sample, while disgust propensity and behavioural self-disgust were lower. The disgust traits had a different pattern of associations to psychological wellbeing across the two groups, with disgust sensitivity predicting depressive symptoms to a significantly greater extent in the cancer than control group.

Conclusions: People with cancer differ from matched controls in their disgust responses and these responses have significant predictive relationships with aspects of their psychological wellbeing. The results suggest that emotion-based interventions may be useful for improving psychological wellbeing in people with cancer.

Bibliographic note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Psychology and Health on 12/09/2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/08870446.2016.1235165