Ousey, Karen, Roberts, Deborah and Stephenson, John (2016) Exploring Psychology and Nursing Students Perceptions of Disgust. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 7 (1). pp. 17-20. ISSN 1925-4040

Practitioners can often experience feelings of disgust when exposed to malodorous wounds and this can manifest by facial expression, involuntary gagging and vomiting. This study reports on an investigation to measure a group of psychology and nursing students (n = 158) perceptions of disgust using three previously validated tools: The Disgust Scale-Revised and the Perceived Vulnerability to disease Scale.
Method: Data were collected via anonymous on line survey of 158 psychology and nursing students at two Universities in the UK between June and July 2015.
Results: Statistical analysis of the data revealed that the majority of the sample were female (97.3%) with nursing students being more resilient to disgust. Disgust scores diminished with increasing age. Psychology students are more sensitive to actual and perceived vulnerability to disease. Levels of perceived vulnerability falls with increasing age.
Discussion: Nursing students undertake 50% of their pre-registration programme in clinical practice where they may have been exposed to potentially disgust provoking situations that may sensitize them to such situations. It is unclear whether their disgust diminishes because they become more tolerant, or accustomed to such situations or to other factors. Previous and repeated exposure to situations provoking disgust may however, explain why nursing student responses differ to their psychology counterparts.
Conclusions: Nursing students are disgusted less easily than psychology students; although all
individuals become slightly more tolerant to certain issues over time. Psychology students are significantly more sensitive to actual and perceived vulnerability to disease than nursing students. Perceived vulnerability falls with increasing age. In order to fully examine the impact of gender on disgust more research is required with a purposive sample.

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