The Role of Disgust in Eating Disorders

Lisa M. Anderson, Hannah Berg, Tiffany A. Brown, Jessie Menzel, Erin E. Reilly

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: In current review, we evaluate the current literature examining the role of disgust in eating disorders (EDs), and provide a theoretical model designed to inform the study and treatment of disgust-based symptoms in EDs.

RECENT FINDINGS: Findings from this review suggest that aberrant disgust-conditioning processes represent promising but understudied mechanisms that may contribute to the risk and maintenance of core eating disorder (ED) psychopathology. In addition, preliminary evidence supports the use of interventions designed to target aversive disgust cues and disrupt maladaptive disgust-based conditioning that may maintain eating pathology. However, experimental studies designed to elucidate the role of disgust and aversive learning processes remain limited. Disgust is a promising risk and maintenance factor in EDs. Future systematic investigation is needed to examine disgust-based processes at a mechanistic level in order to better understand the links between disgust, avoidance behaviors, and EDs. Further investigation of the mechanistic role of disgust in EDs is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4
JournalCurrent psychiatry reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health under award numbers T32MH082761 and K23MH123910. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC part of Springer Nature.


  • Anxiety
  • Aversive threat conditioning
  • Disgust
  • Eating disorders
  • Extinction
  • Avoidance Learning
  • Humans
  • Psychopathology
  • Affect
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Review
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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