Disgust Sensitivity and Anorexia Nervosa

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Previous studies found inconsistent differences in disgust sensitivity between patients with a variety of eating disorders and normal controls.


The objective of this study was to compare disgust sensitivity between a larger and more specific sample of anorexia nervosa (AN) patients and control subjects.


We compared the scores on the ‘disgust sensitivity scale’ of AN patients (N = 62) and control subjects (N = 62) using a multivariate analysis of variance. All subjects were women.


AN patients scored consistently higher on all domains of disgust sensitivity. This difference was significant for six of eight disgust domains. The largest significant difference between the groups was on the domains food and magical thinking.


Our findings elaborate on previous findings and are in line with recent neurological findings suggesting that disgust and insular impairments are associated with AN. Clinical implications of our findings are discussed. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.

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