In the present study, the hypothesized causal relationship between disgust and eating pathology was investigated. Female undergraduates were either assigned to an experimental condition in which feelings of disgust were induced by means of a bad smelling odorant, or to a control condition in which no such disgust manipulation was carried out. Both groups completed questionnaires for measuring various eating disorder-related concepts (i.e., body esteem, restraint eating, and body change strategies). In addition, explicit and implicit preferences for high-caloric food were measured. Results demonstrated that women in the experimental condition did not report lower levels of body esteem, and neither showed higher levels of restraint eating or other body change strategies. Furthermore, they did not display a decreased explicit or implicit preference for high-caloric food. Thus, in the present study no indication for a causal relation between disgust and eating disorder symptoms in young females was found.

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Eating Behaviors
Department of Psychology

Mayer, B., Bos, A., Muris, P., Huijding, J., & Vlielander, M. (2008). Does disgust enhance eating disorder symptoms?. Eating Behaviors, 9(1), 124–127. doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2007.07.003