Disgust and fear: common emotions between eating and phobic disorders.
Bou Khalil, Rami
Bou-Orm, Ibrahim R.
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Eating disorders (ED) are prevalent mental illnesses composed mainly of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorders. Anxiety disorders are another set of mental illnesses, with phobic disorder (PD) being the most prevalent disorder. ED and PD are highly comorbid. The aim of this study is to assess, in 131 individuals attending an outpatient clinic for different health issues, the level of fear related to situations generating avoidance such as in social anxiety and specific phobias according to the fear questionnaire (FQ), the level of disgust according to the disgust scale (DS-R) and the vulnerability towards ED according to the SCOFF scale to demonstrate that high levels of both fear and disgust increase the vulnerability towards ED. The study demonstrated that the level of disgust increased when fear increases (r = 0.377, p < 0.001 for the first part of the FQ; r = 0.225, p = 0.01 for the second part of the FQ). Moreover, individuals with vulnerability towards having an ED presented a higher level of disgust than individuals without this vulnerability (p = 0.009). Furthermore, individuals with vulnerability towards ED have a higher level of anxiety related to PD subtypes (p = 0.008 for agoraphobia; p = 0.001 for injection/blood phobia) as well as to social anxiety (p = 0.01), independently from having a depressive or another anxiety disorder. In the multivariate analysis, a history of psychiatric consultation has been the only significantly different parameter between individuals with or without vulnerability towards ED (p = 0.0439). Accordingly, fear and disgust are negative emotions that seem to be clinically associated which better explains the comorbidity of ED with PD. Level III. Evidence obtained from well-designed cohort or case-control analytic studies, preferably from more than one center or research group.