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As maladaptive disgust responses are linked to mental health problems, and cancer patients may experience heightened disgust as a result of treatments they receive, we explored the associations between disgust-related side-effects and symptoms of depression and anxiety in people treated for cancer. One hundred and thirty two (83 women, M age = 57.48 years) participants answered questions about their treatments, side-effects, disgust responding, and mental health. Experiencing bowel and/or bladder problems, sickness and/or nausea (referred to here as “core” disgust-related side-effects) was significantly related to greater symptoms of depression and borderline increased anxiety. Further, these links were explained by a moderated mediation model, whereby the effects of core disgust side-effects on depression and anxiety were mediated by (physical and behavioural) self-directed disgust, and disgust propensity moderated the effect of core disgust side-effects on self-disgust. These findings stress the importance of emotional responses, like disgust, in psychological adaptation to the side-effects of cancer treatments.
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- The effect of disgust-related side-effects on symptoms of depression and anxiety in people treated for cancer: a moderated mediation model
Philip A. Powell
Haffiezhah A. Azlan
Paul G. Overton
- Springer US