College of Psychology: Faculty Articles


Influence of Arousal, Previous Experience, and Age on Surgery Preparation of Same Day of Surgery and In-Hospital Pediatric Patients.

Document Type


Publication Date



Hospitalized Adolescent, Age Factors, Arousal, Hospitalized Child, Preschool Child, Patient Education as Topic, Operative Surgical Procedures

Publication Title

Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology








Two pediatric surgery populations (aged 4–17 yrs) were studied to determine differences in retention of preparatory information as influenced by time of preparation, arousal levels, previous surgery experience, and age. Ss were divided into those having same-day surgery (12 experimentals and 12 controls) and those remaining in the hospital after surgery (21 experimentals and 21 controls). Experimental Ss were individually prepared with a 10-min hospital-relevant film, while controls viewed a 10-min non-hospital-relevant film. Findings show that experimentals retained more hospital-relevant information following preparation than controls. Older Ss retained more information than younger ones regardless of population. Physiological arousal differences were noted with those in-hospital patients who viewed the relevant experimental film, showing significantly greater decreases in sweating than Ss viewing the film on the same day as surgery. It is suggested that the film may have had a greater impact given the context in which Ss found themselves. The nonrelevant control film served as a distraction for those having surgery immediately on admission, as reflected by a reduction of their hospital fears. Ss with previous surgical experience who were exposed to the relevant film showed significantly greater increases in sweating than those without previous experience regardless of time of film preparation. Consequently, the relevant film may have had a sensitizing effect on Ss previously exposed to surgery.