Anticipatory nausea and vomiting: A review of psychological interventions

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Emergency Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Chemotherapy, Adjuvant; Vomiting, Anticipatory; Nausea; Psychology


Emergency Medicine


Although a cure for cancer continues to elude scientists, modern chemotherapy treatments can typically reduce or reverse the rate of disease progression and can often lead to restored health. However, chemotherapy can also produce severe, sometimes intolerable, side effects. A particularly distressing and aversive side effect that develops in 25 to 32% of all chemotherapy patients is anticipatory nausea and vomiting (ANV). Fortunately, research investigating the prevalence, etiology, predictors, and treatment of ANV has flourished since the early 1980s, and there has been significant progress in understanding this phenomenon. Although antiemetic medications appear to be ineffective in controlling ANV, several psychological interventions, including progressive muscle relaxation training, systematic desensitization, hypnosis, attentional distraction, and stimulus control have produced promising results. The present paper is a review of these interventions.

DOI of Published Version



Boudreaux ED. Anticipatory nausea and vomiting in cancer patients: A review of psychological interventions. International Journal of Rehabilitation and Health, 1995; 1(2): 75-58. DOI 10.1007/BF02213888

Journal/Book/Conference Title

International Journal of Rehabilitation and Health


At the time of publication, Edwin Boudreaux was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.