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Heart Lung. 2003 Jul-Aug;32(4):275-82.

Description of anxiety levels by individual differences and clinical factors in patients receiving mechanical ventilatory support.

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University of Minnesota School of Nursing, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.



Though anxiety is a common experience for patients receiving mechanical ventilatory support, little is known about how it may vary among patients on the basis of individual or clinical factors. There is an absence of data objectively describing anxiety levels in ventilated patients on the basis of salient factors that could be useful in designing and tailoring interventions.


The purpose of this study was to describe anxiety levels in a sample of mechanically ventilated patients by individual differences (eg, gender or ethnicity) and clinical factors (eg, medical indication for and length of mechanical ventilation).


Two hundred alert, mechanically ventilated adult patients were recruited from 9 intensive care units in the urban Midwest.


This study was a secondary analysis of existing data that used a descriptive design. Anxiety was assessed via the 20-item Spielberger State Anxiety Inventory.


Whereas state anxiety varied widely, participants receiving mechanical ventilatory support reported moderate anxiety (mean = 49.2) with comparable levels by gender and ethnicity. Patients receiving ventilatory support for greater than 22 days tended to report slightly higher state anxiety (mean = 54.2) compared with those chronically ventilator dependent (mean = 45.8). Those participants with primarily respiratory diagnoses reported the highest levels (50.5) among the diagnostic groups. Findings from this study document the individual, variable nature of state anxiety. Additional research is needed to further elucidate whether these and other important clinical factors, such as illness severity or dyspnea, affect state anxiety ratings in ventilated patients to guide the researcher and clinician in appropriately testing and tailoring interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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