Research Study

Specific Phobia of Vomiting Study

This landmark study took place in 2014 and the research was published in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders.


In 2014, Lori Riddle-Walker conducted a research study on Specific Phobia of Vomiting (SPOV). SPOV is also known as emetophobia. This study was a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of cognitive behavioral therapy treating SPOV. The treatment was based upon the current research, both survey and case studies, including the work of David Veale, MD, a London-based psychiatrist who specializes in emetophobia, obsessive compulsive disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, health anxiety, and depression.

The study was the first RCT for emetophobia. This was an important area of research that had been neglected. It had been estimated that over 8% of the population may suffer from a fear of vomiting (1) which can be chronic and debilitating. Emetophobia often co-occurs with depression, social anxiety disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

The study was done through Argosy University San Diego. It was funded by the researcher and then-doctoral candidate, Lori Riddle-Walker, MA, LMFT.

(1) van Hout, W. J. P. J., Bouman, T. K. (2012). Clinical Features, Prevalence and Psychiatric Complaints in Subjects with Fear of Vomiting. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy,19, 531–539.

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