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The revolting self: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experience of self-disgust in females with depressive symptoms

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>06/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number6
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)562-578
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date24/09/13
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Self-focused disgust has been implicated in depression and other mental health problems. However, “self-disgust” as a psychological concept has never been properly defined and remains particularly enigmatic. A qualitative methodology was used to obtain an informed understanding of self-disgust.

Nine female participants with clinically relevant depressive symptoms completed semistructured interviews about their understanding and experiences of self-disgust. These were analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.

Four superordinate themes emerged: (a) “The subjective experience of self-disgust” revealed how self-disgust was perceived as a consuming, visceral experience with trait and state components; (b) “Origins of the revolting self” covered antecedent factors and the role of others in the genesis of self-disgust; (c) “Consequences of self-disgust” included the psychological and behavioral results of a disgusting self; and (d) “Associated emotional states” described associations between self-disgust and other feeling states.

The current findings suggest self-disgust is a consuming negative psychological phenomenon, associated with depression, problems with eating, physical appearance, interpersonal relationships, and self-persecution. Implications for clinical practice and future research on the topic are discussed.