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J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 1994 Jun;25(2):131-4.

Anxiety and its determinants in patients undergoing magnetic resonance imaging.

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Psychology Dept., University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA 95211.


This study assessed anxiety reactions in 40 adults outpatients undergoing MRI. Ninety-five percent of the patients completed the procedure although 37% reported moderate to severe anxiety. It is concluded that (a) anxiety in patients undergoing MRI is a multifaceted phenomenon involving fear of enclosed places (claustrophobia), pain, the unknown, as well as apprehension about what the test might reveal, and (b) the best way to avoid traumatizing the patient is to assess these variables in advance of the procedure. Methods to reduce anxiety can then be tailored to the needs of the patient.

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