Research| Volume 38, ISSUE 2, P312-317, April 2023

Pediatric Preanesthesia Anxiety and Factors of Family Satisfaction

Published:December 16, 2022DOI:



      Pediatric patients scheduled for procedures with anesthesia experience stress and feelings of anxiety, but frequently lack the opportunity to report their feelings. Pediatric patient anxiety may be related to internal (patient perceptions/emotions) or external (demographic/family knowledge/satisfaction) factors. The purpose of the study was to explore patient reports of anxiety in young school-age through adolescent ages, and factors of family satisfaction before a scheduled procedure with anesthesia.


      Cross-sectional, descriptive, and correlational.


      A voluntary survey including family-report of patient age and past anesthesia, type of procedure, family satisfaction factors (knowledge of anesthesia; perioperative concerns), and patient-report of anxiety with a visual analog scale (0-10) was offered to eligible families at their preanesthesia clinic appointment.


      Completed surveys from 80 families (mean age of patient = 12 years; range 7-17 years) showed legally authorized guardians (LAGs) felt the preanesthesia visit helped them understand anesthesia information, but they also had concerns, such as complications and pain. Patient anxiety ratings ranged from 0 to 10 (M = 3.3, SD = 3.1), and were slightly higher for patients 11 years and younger (M = 3.8; SD = 3.4). Anxiety ratings were not significantly correlated with other factors measured.


      Pediatric patients, ages 7-17, report preanesthesia anxiety levels ranging from “not at all” to “worst imaginable,” unrelated to demographic or family factors. Family members have perioperative concerns that need to be addressed before scheduled procedures. There is an impetus for improvement in psychosocial assessment and health care team collaboration to meet needs in a family-centered preanesthesia care model.


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