Social adaptability, cognitive abilities, and other predictors for children's reactions to surgery

J Clin Anesth. 2000 Nov;12(7):549-54. doi: 10.1016/s0952-8180(00)00214-2.


Study objective: To examine the relationship between social adaptability, cognitive abilities, and other personality characteristics to perioperative anxiety.

Study design: Prospective cohort investigation.

Patients: 60 children ASA physical status I and II, age 3 to 10 years.

Setting: Tertiary care children's hospital.

Measurements: Temperament (EASI), cognitive abilities (KABC), and adaptive behavior (Vineland) were evaluated in a group of children undergoing surgery. Parental coping style (MBBS) and parental state (STAI-S) and trait (STAI-T) anxiety were assessed as well. On the day of surgery, anxiety of the child was measured at the preoperative holding area and during induction of anesthesia (m-YPAS).

Main results: Univariate correlational analysis demonstrated that young age (r = -0.27), poor social adaptability (Vineland) (r = -0.38), shy and inhibited personality (EASI; temperament) (r = -0.33), higher intelligence (KABC) (r = 0.29), increased parental anxiety (r = 0.44), and parental high-monitoring coping style (r = -0.25) are all associated with higher levels of perioperative anxiety. Stepwise multivariate regression analysis has demonstrated that controlling for the variables above, parental anxiety (p = 0.004), child's social adaptive capabilities (p = 0.04), and child's temperament (sociability) (p = 0.04) are independent predictors for increased perioperative anxiety (R(2) = 0.38, F = 5.5, p = 0.003).

Conclusions: Anesthesiologists need to pay close attention to the families of pediatric surgical children who are socially maladjusted, shy and inhibited, and have anxious parents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / psychology*
  • Temperament