The prospect of surgery can be a stressful time. An individual who is experiencing stress often can have high level of anxiety and their cognitive thinking may decrease. Moreover, for an individual to successful assess a situation and determine coping strategies, if one’s cognitive abilities are decrease then the one ability to cope is affected. In order to study how patients cope with preoperative stress, we must first be able to understand an individual’s cognitive process to decipher information. To explore the relationship between anxiety levels and cognitive thinking abilities in patient, we designed a study.
It is known that the preoperative period is a stressful time. The patient may experience many different emotions. It has been shown that there is a relationship between anticipatory fear and postoperative emotional disturbances. Moreover it also has been shown that men with chronic genitourinary cancer, that there critical thinking were negatively associated with the diagnostic procedure. The researcher concluded that men with best-problem solving abilities and the highest education levels were able to cope the most effectively. Also in the same study, researcher found that most effective coping strategies were influenced by the patient’s ability to think critically and to control negative emotions.
In this study there was a selected sample group of 60 people who had same-day surgery. Subjects were selected between ages 18-35 and were able to read and write. These people were admitted for cancer diagnosis. The patients were measured with STAI which measured anxiety levels. Critical thinking was measured by the Watson-Glaser CTA. From the results, it was found that 70% of subjects who demonstrated high anxiety levels scored low in critical thinking performance. Individuals with medium anxiety scored (61%) had low critical thinking scores. There was an attempt to distinguish variables such as age, gender, and education of STAI and CTA scores. It was found that age was a negative correlation on STAI scores.
Furthermore, analysis of the data showed that a total sample, 25% of surgery patients had high anxiety scores preoperatively. The patients who did have high anxiety scores, 75% of those patients had low critical thinking ability. From the data it is shown that people who had higher anxiety levels tend to have lower cognitive thinking ability. Individuals who had a high STAI score tend to have a low CTA scored.
They concluded that anxiety affects short-term memory, reduces responses to their environment, and interferes with cognitive processes. Therefore, when nurses help teach the patients, they should be aware of the patient’s anxiety levels. Nurses should be aware anxiety levels because the levels can compromise the patient’s ability to think and comprehend instructions and information.
In this study, there were several limiting factors: sample size, CTA was used as a abbreviation, and different surgical procedures were performed. Despite these limitations, there was a consistent pattern of results with the use of CTA. Furthermore, there was also a trend between low and high levels of anxiety when being compared to cognitive thinking ability which is also consistent with other findings such as the relationship between anticipatory fear and preoperative emotional disturbance. This study is able to suggest that certain interventions can be designed to help lower anxiety levels of the patients. Also, further research is needed to validate this suggestion.
...(download the rest of the essay above)