Clinical and Experimental Psychology

ISSN - 2471-2701


Implicit Associations in Blood-Injection-Injury Phobia: Changes after Exposure to a Disgust-Eliciting Stimulus

Lauren A. Rothstein, Alanna M Covington, Michele M Carter

Objective: The current study aimed to examine implicit disgust associations between blood injection-injury (BII) phobic and non-phobic individuals. Method: The implicit disgust associations between 30 blood-injection-injury (BII) phobic 30 and non-phobic individuals were evaluated following 30-minute in vivo exposure to a disgust eliciting stimulus (severed deer leg). Participants engaged in an implicit association test (IAT), prior to and following exposure to determine the strength of implicit associations regarding the concept of disgust. Participants also engaged in a behavior approach/avoidance task (BAT) with a vial of blood at the same time points to determine if disgust elicited by the deer leg was generalizable to a BII-specific disgust-elicitor. IAT and BAT assessments were then repeated one week following exposure. Results: A significant change in implicit associations was found from pre-exposure to follow-up. There was also a significant decrease in avoidance to the BAT from pre-exposure to follow-up. Conclusions: BII phobic individuals underwent a cognitive change and lessening of disgust associations.