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Nursing Research and Practice
Volume 2012, Article ID 932570, 7 pages
Research Article

Assessing Children's Anxiety Using the Modified Short State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and Talking Mats: A Pilot Study

1School of Health Sciences, Borås University, 501 90 Borås, Sweden
2DART—Centre for AAC and Assistive Technology, The Queen Silvia Children's Hospital, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, 41345 Gothenburg, Sweden

Received 7 June 2012; Revised 29 July 2012; Accepted 3 August 2012

Academic Editor: Sheila Payne

Copyright © 2012 Stefan Nilsson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Preoperative anxiety complicates treatment and requires assessment by nurses in children. Children, with or without disability, are helped when pictures are used to support communication. The purpose of this pilot study was to test the reliability and validity of the modified short State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) using a modified Talking Mats method in children undergoing day surgeries. Method. A modified short STAI with pictorial support along the lines of the Talking Mats method was pre- and postoperatively administered to 42 typically developing children aged three to nine years. The parents assessed the children’s anxiety, simultaneously and independently, by scoring the short STAI by proxy. Results. The modified short STAI showed moderate internal consistency and good construct validity in the age group seven to nine years. Conclusions. The results of this study support the use of the instrument for self-reports in children aged seven to nine years. Future research will explore the possibilities of also using this instrument for children with cognitive and communicative difficulties.