Formation of food aversions in cancer patients receiving repeated infusions of chemotherapy

Paul B. Jcobsen, Dana H. Bovbjerg, Marc D. Schwartz, Michael A. Andrykowski, Ann D. Futterman, Teresa Gilewski, Larry Norton, William H. Redd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Patients receiving emetogenic chemotherapy for cancer have been found to develop aversions to normal dietary items consumed in close temporal relation to treatment administrations. These aversions are presumed to develop via conditioning processes as demonstrated in experimental studies of food aversion learning. The present study used a prospective, longitudinal design to evaluate the possible role of conditioning in the formation of aversions to normal dietary items in women receiving adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer. Patients were monitored for the development of aversions to foods and beverages consumed in the 24 hr periods before and after each of eight consecutive chemotherapy infusions beginning with the initial infusion. Data on the prevalence, course, and prediction of aversions to normal dietary items are reported. These results pointed to similarities and differences between aversions formed to normal dietary items during chemotherapy treatment and aversions formed to taste stimuli during experimental conditioning studies. In addition to their theoretical significance, results also suggest possible strategies for preventing the clinical problem of aversions to normal dietary items in chemotherapy patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)739-748
Number of pages10
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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