Disgust is a basic emotion that is thought to play a role in the etiology of certain types of specific phobias, like animal phobias. Two experiments were conducted in which 9- to 14-year-old children were exposed to disgust-related, cleanliness-related, and threat-related information about unknown animals. It was investigated to what extent these types of information influenced children's fear beliefs, feelings of disgust, and avoidance behavior in relation to the animals. Most important, results suggested a bidirectional relationship between disgust and fear. That is, disgust-related information was found to promote fear beliefs, and conversely threat-related information enhanced feelings of disgust. Repercussions of these findings for the role of disgust in the development and maintenance of anxiety pathology are discussed.

doi.org/10.1080/15374410902976379, hdl.handle.net/1765/17582
Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Department of Psychology

Muris, P., Huijding, J., Mayer, B., Leemreis, W., Passchier, S., & Bouwmeester, S. (2009). The effects of verbal disgust- and threat-related information about novel animals on disgust and fear beliefs and avoidance in children. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 38(4), 551–563. doi:10.1080/15374410902976379