Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.
Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.
Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.
Open Access Thesis
Master of Science (M.S.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Between 4-16% of adults in the United States have experienced difficulty swallowing at some point during their lives. Difficulty swallowing, or clinically referred to as dysphagia, poses increased concern when drinking beverages. While no treatment is currently available, it is often recommended that liquids be thickened to improve the safety of swallowing and prevent liquids from being aspirated in the lungs. However, thickened liquids are poorly accepted by individuals with dysphagia. Taste and flavor suppression has been shown in various thickened liquid matrices, but the mechanisms for understanding these changes in perception are quite complex. Additionally, literature focused on dysphagic patients’ experiences with different types of beverages and clinicians’ experiences with thickening beverages is minimal.
The study had two main goals: 1) explore how sensory properties including texture, taste, and flavor affect acceptance of specific thickened liquids and 2) determine challenges clinicians experience with thickening different beverages. This was achieved through a quantitative and qualitative online survey administered to clinicians (n=83; 96% speech-language pathologist) in the United States who work with dysphagia patients. Free-response questions related to thickening issues highlighted challenges with carbonation, temperature, and dairy products. Coffee, water, soda, milk, and oral nutritional supplements were the most complained about thickened beverages, respectively. Disliking of texture was a common complaint for each beverage likely due to the dissimilarity to the unthickened version and challenges associated with thickening. Off-flavors were reported for each beverage and were the most present in water. Additionally, clinicians noted the thickened version of the beverage typically has less flavor. To increase the acceptance of thickened liquids, clinicians believe the texture and flavor need significant improvements. Interdisciplinary work in the field of food science is needed to create a smoother consistency, more stable thickness across time and temperature, and improved flavor/taste to develop more enjoyable beverages for dysphagic patients.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Cox, Allison N., "Factors Affecting Sensory Acceptance of Thickened Liquids Used in Dysphagia Management" (2021). Masters Theses. 1100.