COSMIN database

Scales for evaluating self-perceived anxiety levels in patients admitted to intensive care units: a review

Perpina-Galvan, J. and Richart-Martinez, M.
OBJECTIVE: To review studies of anxiety in critically ill patients admitted to an intensive care unit to describe the level of anxiety and synthesize the psychometric properties of the instruments used to measure anxiety.

METHODS: The CUIDEN, IME, ISOC, CINAHL, MEDLINE, and PSYCINFO databases for 1995 to 2005 were searched. The search focused on 3 concepts: anxiety, intensive care, and mechanical ventilation for the English-language databases and ansiedad, cuidados intensivos, and ventilacion mecanica for the Spanish-language databases. Information was extracted from 18 selected articles on the level of anxiety experienced by patients and the psychometric properties of the instruments used to measure anxiety.

RESULTS: Moderate levels of anxiety were reported. Levels were higher in women than in men, and higher in patients undergoing positive pressure ventilation regardless of sex. Most multi-item instruments had high coefficients of internal consistency. The reliability of instruments with only a single item was not demonstrated, even though the instruments had moderate-to-high correlations with other measurements.

CONCLUSION: Midlength scales, such the anxiety subscale of the Brief Symptom Inventory or the shortened state version of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory are best for measuring anxiety in critical care patients.
Am J Crit Care
1937-710X (Electronic)
Publication year:
Symptom status:
Cognitive/mental state
Adults (18-65)
Seniors (65+)
Diseases of and symptoms related to the circulatory system
Diseases of and symptoms related to the respiratory system
Factors influencing health status and contact with health services
PRO / non-PRO:
Patient Reported Outcome
Type of measurement instrument:
1 - Questionnaires
ALI - Anxiety Level Index
BSI - Brief Symptom Inventory
ETIC-7 - Experience after Treatment in Intensive Care-7-Item anxiety scale
FACES - Faces Anxiety Scale
HADS-A - Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale–Anxiety subscale
LASS - Linear Analogue Scales
STAI - State-Trait Anxiety Inventory
VAS - Visual Analogue Scale (versions: vertical; horizontal)