A study of the relationship between therapeutic touch and the anxiety levels of hospitalized adults




Hale, Elizabeth

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The purpose of this study was to examine the intervention of therapeutic touch on the anxiety levels of hospitalized adults. The study was carried out during a two month period at a 278-bed general hospital in the Southwest. The convenience sample consisted of 48 consenting subjects who met selected criteria.

A three group before-after experimental design was used. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of three groups. The treatment group received Krieger's therapeutic touch (TT), the placebo group received a simulation of the hand movements of therapeutic touch without other components defined by Krieger as essential, and the control group received only routine care.

Anxiety was measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). The STAI was completed by subjects before and after interventions of TT or placebo touch. Subjects in the control group completed the form at corresponding times. Physiological responses to anxiety were measured by systolic and diastolic blood pressure and pulse rate. Two measurements of each variable were made before and after treatment of TT or placebo touch. Measurements were made on control group subjects at corresponding times.

Research hypotheses predicted that the TT group would have posttest decreased levels of state anxiety, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and pulse rate as compared to the placebo and control groups. Data were analyzed by a two-way ANOVA for repeated measures. No significant differences were found between groups for any of the variables measured. A significant difference was found within the groups on the variables of systolic blood pressure and the STAI. A post hoc test was made and a significant difference was found in before and after measurements of the control group. This decrease in anxiety was attributed to regression toward the mean. Although none of the main hypotheses were supported, recommendations were made for replications of the study with a population which has more variable levels of anxiety.



Anxiety, Nursing intervention, Therapeutic touch