The Emetophobia Severity Scale (ESS)

 

In 2012 we ran a research project to test the efficacy of our programme: ‘cure your emetophobia and thrive’, and the results were fantastic.We already had a instrument to measure the sense of power or control an emetophobe had over their phobia, with our locus of control quiz. What we also wanted to create was some sort of scale, in order to ascertain just how severe, a sufferers emetophobia was – both before and after they went through our programme.  So, we created the ESS: the Emetophobia Severity Scale. This scale was based on a number of other scales and instruments we found in the literature and research.

The ESS probes an emetophobes thoughts, actions and beliefs, in three important areas: (1) their anxiety and fearful cognitions in relation to being sick, (2) their avoidance and safety-seeking behaviours, and (3) their social anxiety in relation to being sick.

The scale:

 

Anxiety and fearful cognitions in relation to being sick

  1. I feel very anxious at the thought of being sick
  2. I often experience physical symptoms (such as nausea, racing heart rate, sweating) at the thought or mention of vomiting
  3. I could not cope with being sick
  4. I have experienced emetophobia related panic attacks
  5. I am preoccupied by thoughts of being sick
  6. I worry that I will be really ill if I am sick
  7. I worry about other people being sick
  8. I worry that if I am sick I will die
  9. I feel anxious whenever I hear or see the words ‘sick’ or ‘vomit’
  10. I worry that I will completely lose control if I vomit

 

Avoidance and safety-seeking behaviours

  1. I tend to avoid eating out at restaurants or other people’s houses
  2. I avoid taking medication that could cause sickness
  3. I would terminate a pregnancy to avoid morning sickness
  4. I tend not to go to pubs and clubs for fear of drunk people throwing up
  5. I tend not to travel by one or more of: car, boat, train, bus or plane, for fear of vomiting or catching a vomiting bug
  6. I maintain very high standards of personal and household hygiene
  7. I avoid drinking alcohol or eating specific foods for fear of sickness
  8. I avoid going near people that could be unwell
  9. I take ‘stomach settlers’, such as drinking mint tea
  10. When preparing food I like to double check the sell by date and make sure everything is thoroughly cooked

 

Social Anxiety in relation to being sick

  1. I haven’t told other people about my emetophobia
  2. Vomiting in front of others worries me more than vomiting in private
  3. I think that others would be disgusted if I were to throw up in public
  4. I worry about what my friends or family might think of me for having emetophobia
  5. I fear that other people might not want to know me if I were to throw up in front of them
  6. Whenever I feel anxious, I try to hide it from others
  7. I worry that my friends and family might talk about my emetophobia behind my back
  8. I worry that being sick would make me look unladylike or repulsive
  9. I fear getting into relationships, due to potentially having to reveal or explain my emetophobia to my new partner
  10. I worry that other people might be annoyed if I were to throw up in front of them

Click here to read the full results of our survey

Click here to take our emetophobia locus of control quiz