Reply To: Disgust and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

  • Encyclios

    May 10, 2023 at 4:16 PM

    Other symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and disgust: what relationships?

    Although the study underlined how disgust can be a mediator in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in general and not only of contamination, the authors do not distinguish which other symptoms are involved, and to what extent. Indeed, the authors also highlighted how, depending on the type of assessment, the results change. Regardless of this, it is also plausible that other symptoms can be explained in terms of disgust, but through the mediation of other elements.

    For example, whether for the symptom of excessive responsibility, PD might be mediated, or go parallel, to the trait of guilt (Melli et al., 2015b). The authors, beyond controlling for both affective dimensions such as anxiety and depression, studied a clinical sample discriminated across the OCDS. Using regression analyses, the authors found how the trait of guilt does not predict Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder symptomatology, while the propensity for disgust is a predictor not only of contamination, but surprisingly also of obsession with symmetry and order. Whereas for symptoms such as responsibility for mistakes and unacceptability of thoughts were predictors of neither PD nor guilt. Thus, it could be hypothesized that, through mediation between PD and obsession with symmetry and order, the OCD patient would feel disgust and thus enact compulsions to appease the feeling of not being complete, and thus disgusting, but not to avoid a future threat (Melli et al., 2015b).

    But this hypothesis has not yet been tested. The strength of this article relates to the importance that disgust may also elicit compulsive behaviors to quell contamination, but potentially for other OCD symptoms as well.

    Thus, once it is established that the propensity to disgust is in close association with contamination, and perhaps with other symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, it is fair to ask whether there are, and what might be, cognitive mediators within this relationship. Indeed, it has been seen that, in a non-clinical sample, a cognitive fallacy is to assume that one can be contaminated in innocuous situations (Verwoerd et al., 2013).