Date of Award

Spring 1988

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nursing

Abstract

Defining characteristics of anxiety were studied to determine if these characteristics are representative of anxiety as observed in hospitalized patients by their nurses and as identified by the patients themselves. Both subjective and objective defining characteristics of anxiety were examined. The study was partially based on the nurse-validation model for nursing diagnosis research presented by Gordon and Sweeny (1979). Three tools were utilized in obtaining the data. The Defining Characteristics Tool which was developed for this study included both objective and subjective indicators of anxiety and was completed by both the patient and nurse subjects. The two other tools utilized included the State Anxiety Inventory (Spielberger , Gorsuch, Lushene, Vagg & Jacobs, 1983) and the Graphic Anxiety Scale (Wood & Haber, 1986). The sample consisted of forty hospitalized patients and thirty-nine nurses. Biographical data were obtained from both the patient and nurse subjects involved in the study. An equal number of male and female patient subjects participated in the study. They ranged in age from 23-71 years of age. The majority of the patient subjects were married. Forty-two percent of the patients had neuromuscular problems, 25% had renal problems and 10% had problems affecting their cardiovascular system. The two nursing diagnoses which occurred most frequently with anxiety were alteration in comfort and knowledge deficit. Seven research questions were explored. A positive correlation was found between the scores of the Defining Characteristics Tool completed by the nurse and the patient's anxiety level as measured by the State Anxiety Inventory. A positive but insignificant correlation existed between the Defining Characteristics Tool completed by the nurse and the patient's anxiety level as measured by the Graphic Anxiety Scale. A positive correlation was found between the results of the State Anxiety Inventory and the Graphic Anxiety Scale. In addition, a positive correlation existed between the results of the Defining Characteristics Tool completed by the patient and the patient's anxiety level as measured by the State Anxiety Inventory. In terms of the Defining Characteristics Tool completed by the patient and the patient's anxiety level as measured by the Graphic Anxiety Scale, a positive correlation existed. A significant difference was found between the results of the Defining Characteristics Tool completed by the nurse and patient. Five defining characteristics identified by the patient subjects qualified as critical indicators of anxiety. They were difficulty sleeping, fatigue/weakness, body aches and pains, frequent urination and restlessness. The last characteristic, restlessness, was also identified by the nurse subjects as critical. Eighteen supporting characteristics were identified by the patient subjects. Fourteen supporting characteristics were identified by the nurse subjects....

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