The influence of self-disgust on eating disorder symptoms
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Self-disgust could positively influence the development of eating disorder symptoms. Prognosis for eating disorders is currently not very good and self-disgust might play a part in this. Self-disgust leads to psychological suffering, which might lead to eating disorder symptoms. In current research, it was investigated if self-disgust is indeed associated with eating disorder symptoms, and if this process is mediated by psychological suffering. Participants (N=84) were interviewed online with a survey consisting of the Questionnaire for the Assessment of Self-Disgust (QASD), the Kessler 10 (K10), the Disgust Propensity and Sensitivity Scale-Revised (DPSS-R), the Positive And Negative Affect Schedule Short Form (PANAS-SF) and the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q). Two of these questionnaires were used as control variables. The results showed that self-disgust positively associates with eating disorder symptoms, but that psychological suffering does not work as a mediator between this process. Negative affect was not associated with eating disorder symptoms. Disgust sensitivity and propensity were also not associated with eating disorder symptoms. As was expected, a positive association was found between self disgust and eating disorder symptoms. A point of improvement is the recruiting of the research sample: After the first method of recruiting turned out to be insufficient, a convenience sample of the researcher’s own network was used. Other limitations were missing items in the K10 and DPSS-R, and the way the participants were recruited. It is concluded that self disgust positively associates with eating disorder symptoms, but is not mediated by psychological suffering. This means that self-disgust plays a large part in eating disorders and might be useful to address in therapeutic practice. For future research it is recommended to find out how self-disgust can best be implemented in therapy.