Individual differences in avoiding feelings of disgust: Development and construct validity of the disgust avoidance questionnaire

Paula von Spreckelsen, Nienke Jonker, Jorien Vugteveen, Ineke Wessel, Klaske Glashouwer, Peter de Jong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We developed and examined the construct validity of the Disgust Avoidance Questionnaire (DAQ) as a measure of people’s inclination to prevent experiencing disgust (disgust prevention) and to escape from the experience of disgust (disgust escape). In a stepwise item-reduction (Study 1; N = 417) using Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) based on a 4-subscale distinction (behavioral prevention, cognitive prevention, behavioral escape, cognitive escape), we selected 17 items from a pool of potential items. In order to incorporate the conceptual overlap between dimensions of disgust avoidance, focus (prevention vs. escape), and strategy (behavioral avoidance vs. cognitive avoidance), we specified an adapted model. In this model, we allowed each item to load on one type of dimension and one type of strategy, resulting in four overlapping factors (prevention, escape, behavioral avoidance, cognitive avoidance). Evaluation of this overlapping 4-factor model (Study 2; N = 513) using Exploratory Structural Equation Modeling (ESEM) and Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) showed promising model fit indices, factor loadings, factor correlations, and reliability estimates for three of the four factors (prevention, behavioral avoidance, cognitive avoidance). Those three subscales also showed good convergent validity. In contrast, the results related to the escape factor may call the suitability of self-report to assess disgust escape into question. In light of the exploratory nature of the project, future examinations of the DAQ’s validity and applicability to more diverse samples are essential. A critical next step for future research would be to examine the DAQ’s criterion validity and the distinctive roles of the DAQ subscales in (clinical) psychological constructs and processes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • confirmatory factor analysis (CFA)
  • disgust avoidance questionnaire (DAQ)
  • disgust escape
  • disgust prevention
  • exploratory factor analysis (EFA)
  • exploratory structural equation modeling (ESEM)
  • questionnaire development
  • stepwise item reduction


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