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Fear of choking is a relatively understudied phenomenon in older adults, despite the higher incidence of choking to death in this population and the associated mental health burden. This case report presents the use of a cognitive-behavioral (CBT) approach to treating choking phobia in an older adult in her 80s, with sessions conducted over the telephone during the COVID-19 pandemic. A reliable change in self-reported avoidance of solid food was observed, although indices of general distress appeared to have remained stable. By placing a seemingly focal problem (choking phobia) within a comprehensive conceptualization framework using gerontology, we were able to consider additional complexity related to aging-related beliefs and experiences of distress to address therapeutic opportunities and challenges, including the COVID-19 context.

Original publication




Journal article


GeroPsych: The Journal of Gerontopsychology and Geriatric Psychiatry

Publication Date





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