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Title: A systematic review of the concept of self-disgust, and an empirical examination of its role in post-traumatic stress difficulties
Author: Clarke, Aoife
ISNI:       0000 0004 6424 4346
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis is comprised of a systematic literature review, a research paper, and a critical appraisal. The literature review assesses the clinical utility of self-disgust in understanding mental health difficulties. Specifically, the review examined whether there is a shared conceptual definition of self-disgust, the construct and face validity of quantitative measures of self-disgust, and the predictive validity of self-disgust in understanding mental distress. Thirty-one studies (three qualitative, twenty-seven quantitative, one mixed) were included in the review. Findings suggested that, although qualitative research indicates that self-disgust is a meaningful phenomenon experienced in a consistent way, measurement of self-disgust across studies has varied and particular measures (e.g. visual analogue scales) may only capture an aspect of the concept. Quantitative research indicates strong relationships between self-disgust and a range of mental health conditions, including depression, eating disorders, trauma-related difficulties, and self-harm. Experimental, longitudinal and retrospective designs very tentatively suggest that self-disgust precedes the development of these difficulties, thereby lending the concept a degree of predictive validity. However, the cross-sectional nature of the majority of the studies limit conclusions. The empirical paper examined whether there was a relationship between self-disgust and post-traumatic stress difficulties following trauma-exposure, and if so whether this relationship was mediated by attachment anxiety or attachment avoidance. Eighty-five participants completed a battery of on-line questionnaires measuring the above concepts. Self-disgust significantly positively correlated with all post-traumatic stress symptoms. Self-disgust also fully mediated the relationship between the experience of sexual trauma and post-traumatic stress severity. The relationship between self-disgust and dissociation was partially mediated by attachment anxiety. However, attachment avoidance did not relate to any of the symptom clusters. The implications of the results for research and practice are discussed. Finally, the critical appraisal bounds the clinical implications of the findings within the strengths and weakness of the research paper.
Supervisor: Simpson, Jane ; Varese, Filippo Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral