Alcohol and disgust: an intimate relationship

Lorenzo Stafford, Alistair Paul Sekulla, Ed Morrison, Diana Fleischman, Alistair Harvey

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Background: Alcohol intoxication has been associated with increases in risk taking behavior and more ambiguously, alterations in emotional perception. In the first study of its kind, we examine how theories of disgust can be used to help explain these effects.

Methods: Using a single-blind procedure, participants (n=73) were randomly allocated to an alcohol (Males: 0.68g/kg; Females: 0.60g/kg) or placebo condition and then completed a psychometric measure of disgust (TDDS).

Results: Results revealed a non-significant trend toward lower disgust sensitivity in the alcohol versus placebo condition. We did however find a significant negative correlation, whereby increases in breath alcohol level were associated with decreased pathogen disgust.

Conclusions: These findings demonstrate a relationship between breath alcohol level and disgust sensitivity which could help explain differences in risk associated behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107780
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Early online date26 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • alcohol
  • disgust
  • emotions


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