The identification of anxiety as a causative factor in post operative vomiting was the purpose of this study. It was hypothesized that the more anxiety a patient experienced before surgery, the greater would be his chances of vomiting immediately after surgery.

The establishment of an underlying basis and need for a study of the relationship of anxiety and postoperative vomiting were made through a review of literature. The factors which researchers believed were contributory to postoperative vomiting and the possible inclusion of anxiety as one of them were studied.

Three physiologic measures (systolic blood pressure, heart rate, and eosinophil count) and one psychologic measure (Anxiety Differential Scale) were selected to determine each patient's anxiety level. Sub-hypotheses that the higher the preoperative systolic blood pressure, heart rate, or Anxiety Differential score, or lower the eosinophil count, the greater would be the chances of postoperative vomiting were made to support the main hypothesis.

Twenty-nine patients between the ages of twenty and seventy years old undergoing abdominal surgery were selected for study. The anxiety measurements were administered on the evening before surgery. These same patients were observed in the recovery room for two hours immediately following surgery for the incidence and frequency of vomiting.

The scores on each of the measures were correlated with the incidence and frequency of vomiting. Correlation coefficients in the order of -.100, -.07, -.10 and -.26 of the relationship of the preoperative systolic blood pressure, heart rate, eosinophil count and Anxiety differential scores and the incidence of vomiting were found here. In the same order, the anxiety measures and the frequency of vomiting coefficient correlations were .13, .11, -.01, and -.10. None of the correlation coefficients attained the .367 coefficient required to attain the five percent level of significance.

The t test of the mean anxiety scores to find out if there was a significant difference between the mean scores attained by the vomiting and non-vomiting groups indicated that there was little or no difference.

As the result of the findings of this study, the main sub hypotheses were rejected. High preoperative systolic blood pressure, heart rate or Anxiety Differential score, or low eosinophil count were not associated with a higher incidence or frequency of postoperative vomiting.

Because the findings did not show a consistent pattern, the methods and problems of conducting the study were discussed. Difficulty in determining the true level of anxiety and the large number of uncontrolled variables were thought to be the major factors which made the findings inconclusive.

LLU Discipline





Graduate School

First Advisor

L. Lucile Lewis

Second Advisor

Deryck R. Kent

Third Advisor

Bernard D. Briggs

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Vomiting; Surgery, Operative -- psychology; Anxiety



Page Count

vii; 61

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives