Reconceptualizing emetophobia: a cognitive-behavioral formulation and research agenda

J Anxiety Disord. 2007;21(3):407-19. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2006.06.007. Epub 2006 Aug 4.


Fear of vomiting (emetophobia) is a poorly understood anxiety disorder, with little research published into its conceptualization or treatment. The current article uses established cognitive and behavioral models of other anxiety disorders as a basis from which to propose a detailed model of emetophobia. The model proposes that emetophobia results from a constellation of factors including a general anxiety-vulnerability factor, a tendency to somatize anxiety as gastrointestinal distress, a tendency to catastrophically misappraise nausea and other gastrointestinal symptoms, hypervigilance to gastrointestinal cues, beliefs about the unacceptability of vomiting, negatively reinforced avoidance behavior, and selective confirmation biases. A formulation-based treatment package for emetophobia is outlined, including arousal management skills, distraction/attention training, exposure and cognitive restructuring.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / standards*
  • Humans
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology*
  • Phobic Disorders / therapy*
  • Psychological Theory*
  • Vomiting*