Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School for Social Work


Intensive care units-Psychological aspects, Hospital patients-Psychology, Stress (Psychology), Critical care medicine, Hospital patients-Social conditions, Critical care, Stressor, Stress, Patient, Culture, Stress theory, Intensive care unit


This study reveals what intensive care unit (ICU) patients from different countries consider most stressful about the ICU experience. A review of 16 independent studies on patients’ perceptions of ICU stressors yielded 10 data sets from seven countries that met criteria for inclusion in a meta-analysis. Stressors were categorized according to three types – bodily, psychological, and physical environmental – and were selected for comparison based on their frequent appearance among the top 20 stressors in each study selected. Findings showed considerable agreement between studies. Being in pain, Having tubes in the nose and mouth, and Being thirsty were found to be the top ICU stressors of the top 25 identified. Bodily stressors had the highest combined mean value, but mean differences were determined not to be statistically significant. Given the diversity of studies sampled, these findings indicate that certain aspects of the ICU may be universally stressful to patients.




iv, 49 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 43-49)

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Social Work Commons