Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Fuller, Sarah S.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Nursing


Hospital patients--Psychology


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of expressive touch on patient distress associated with hospital admission for nonemergency surgery. The following hypothesis was tested in a one-way analysis of variance design: Patients who are touched expressively during hospital admission interviews will show less negative moods, have a more positive attitude toward hospitalization, and show greater retention of hospital admission information than will those patients who are not touched expressively. Thirty-three women, ages 19-62 years, served as subjects for the study. These subjects were randomly assigned to a touch or non-touch group. The same nurse investigator conducted the hospital admission procedure for all subjects. During this procedure, subjects were provided information about hospital procedures and policies but no preoperative teaching was done. Individuals assigned to the touch condition were touched expressively on four occasions during the admission process while those assigned to the non-touch condition were not. At the end of the routine admission procedure, the first post-admission measurement of moods was obtained from all subjects. Within four hours of the admission interview, a second nurse investigator, blind to the study hypothesis, obtained a second post-admission measurement of mood states, as well as measures of attitude toward hospitalization and admission information retention. Statistical analyses of potential extraneous variables (i.e., age, frequency of previous hospitalizations, frequency of previous surgery, type of surgery, time between admission and post-admission interview, and days between admission and scheduled surgery.) showed no significant differences between groups. Analysis of data from the first and second post-admission mood measurements showed no significant treatment effects on any of the negative mood scores: tension-anxiety, depression-dejection, anger-hostility, vigor-activity, fatigue-inertia, confusion-bewilderment, or total negative mood score. Therefore, the hypothesis that patients who were touched expressively during the hospital admission procedure would show less negative moods than those who were not touched expressively was not supported. As hypothesized, the use of expressive touch did promote a more positive patient attitude toward hospitalization. The significant main effect for the treatment group was F (1,31) = 4.15 < 0.05. There was no significant main effect for treatment group on admission information retention; therefore, the hypothesis that information retention would be greater for patients who were expressively touched was not supported. Results were discussed in relationship to past research, and suggestions for needed research were made.


Includes bibliographical references.||Includes: A handbook for patients, Lutheran Hospital, Moline, Illinois. Front of booklet is labeled page 40, all other pages unnumbered until page 41 of thesis.


50 pages, 18 unnumbered pages




Northern Illinois University

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