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Preoperative anxiety: detection and contributing factors


The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is a correlation between anxiety the night before surgery and that existing immediately preoperatively, whether anaesthetists can detect preoperative anxiety and to establish the presence of any factors that might assist in the determination of preoperative anxiety. Anxiety was measured objectively using the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), and the Multiple Affect Adjective Check List (MAACL). Anxiety was found to be higher infemales and those not having had a previous anaesthetic, and to remain constant from the afternoon before surgery to the immediate preoperative period. Anaesthetists were found to be poor assessors of anxiety unless they specifically questioned their patients about this.


Le but de cette étude est de déterminer s’il existe une corrélation entre l’anxiété la veille de la chirurgie et celle existant immédiatement en période préopératoire, si les anesthésistes peuvent détecter l’anxiété préopératoire et établir la présence de facteurs qui peuvent assister à la détermination de cette anxiété. L’anxiété a été mesurée objectivement par le test de «Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAJ)»et le «Multiple Affect Adjective Check List (MAACL)». L’anxiété fut trouvée supérieure chez les femmes ainsi que chez ceux qui n’ont pas eu d’anesthésie au préalable et fut trouvée constante à partir de l’après midi avant la chirurgie à la période préopératoire immédiate. Les anesthésistes furent trouvés comme des pauvres évaluateurs de l’anxiété sauf quand celle-ci fut exprimée par les patients lors du questionnaire.


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Correspondence to Adrian W. Gelb.

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Badner, N.H., Nielson, W.R., Munk, S. et al. Preoperative anxiety: detection and contributing factors. Can J Anaesth 37, 444 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03005624

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Key words

  • anaesthesia: evaluation, preoperative
  • premedication
  • psychological responses