Association Between Parental Anxiety and Compliance With Preoperative Requirements for Pediatric Outpatient Surgery

Nita Chahal, Cedric Manlhiot, Kimberly Colapinto, Jane Van Alphen, Brian W. McCrindle, Janet Rush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine if parental anxiety interferes with the ability to follow preoperative requirements. Method: In a single center observational study of parents of children admitted to a same-day surgical unit at a tertiary pediatric hospital, parental preoperative anxiety was measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) questionnaire. Anxiety was correlated to a four points assessment of adherence with the following preoperative requirements: dietary restrictions, timely arrival at the hospital, arrival at the assigned room, and completion of required medical forms, because those requirements are the greatest external contributors to surgical cancellation according to hospital statistics. Results: A total of 203 families completed the study. The average STAI score on the day of surgery was 38±12 (population average, 36±11). Only 130 families (66%) complied with all four preoperative requirements. A higher level of anxiety was significantly associated with lower probability of compliance (odds ratio, 0.88; 95% confidence interval, 0.78-1.00, P=05). In univariate models, factors associated with higher STAI scores included younger parent age, younger children, only child, child's first surgery, and no medical consultation between surgical assessment and surgery. Discussion: Parental anxiety could be associated with a lower likelihood of parents following preoperative requirements and could contribute to increased likelihood of surgical cancellation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-377
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Health Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • anesthesia
  • day surgery
  • pediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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