Sensitivity to disgust, stigma, and adjustment to life with a colostomy.
We examined whether trait disgust sensitivity predicts well-being in colostomy patients, and whether disgust predicts stigmatizing attitudes about colostomy in non-patients. 195 patients with a colostomy returned a mailed survey including measures of disgust sensitivity, life satisfaction, mood, and feelings of being stigmatized. We also conducted an internet-survey of a non-patient sample (n = 523). In the patient sample, we observed negative correlations between a bowel-specific measure of disgust sensitivity and life satisfaction (r = -.34, p<.01), and colostomy adjustment ( r = -.42, p<.01), and a positive correlation with feeling stigmatized because of the colostomy (r = .54, p<.01). Correlations between a general trait disgust measure and these outcomes were more modest. A structural equation model indicated that colostomy patients who had high disgust sensitivity felt more stigmatized, and this was in turn strongly related to lower life satisfaction. Concordantly, in the non-patient sample we observed that disgust sensitivity was a significant, positive predictor of wanting less contact with colostomy patients (r = .22, p < .01).
Smith, DM; Loewenstein, G; Rozin, P; Sherriff, RL; Ubel, PA
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