Objectives: The purpose of the study was to examine the relationships among the intensity of intubated patients' negative emotional responses to being unable to speak and selected personal and situational variables.
Design: Prospective correlational.
Setting: Four intensive care units in a midwestern, university-affiliated medical center.
Patients: A convenience sample of 48 patients intubated for 24 or more hours, alert and oriented to person, place, and situation.
Outcome measures: Emotional responses (anger and worry/fear) to being unable to speak.
Results: Multiple regression showed that self-esteem, severity of illness, difficulty with communication, and the number of days intubated at data collection were significantly associated with patients' emotional responses.
Conclusions: Results from this study extend prior research and support the need for nurses to facilitate communication and to support self-esteem in patients receiving ventilatory assistance, particularly in the early days of intubation. Implications for future research are discussed.