Predicting anxiety in magnetic resonance imaging scans

Int J Behav Med. 2004;11(1):1-7. doi: 10.1207/s15327558ijbm1101_1.


This study evaluated a brief screening instrument for predicting psychological distress in patients undertaking magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. The scale is adapted from Wolpe and Lang's (1964) Fear Survey Schedule (FSS; see Lukins, Davan, & Drummond, 1997). Noise and/or confinement were identified as the most unpleasant feature of the MRI by 48.3% of 118 outpatients. The MRI-FSS (Lukins et al., 1997; 9 items) significantly predicted the number of panic attack symptoms and state anxiety experienced during MRI scan better than a range of other measures. There was a significant increase in MRI-FSS scores from prescan to postscan among those who experienced high levels of anxiety during the scan. The MRI-FSS appears to be a useful indicator of likely adverse psychological reactions in the MRI scan that is sensitive to the sequelae of the MRI procedure.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / classification*
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Fear / classification*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / psychology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New South Wales
  • Noise / adverse effects
  • Panic Disorder / etiology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Psychological Tests
  • Surveys and Questionnaires