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Abstract

Based on cognitive dissonance theory, the effects of orientation information on spouses' anxieties and attitudes toward hospitalization and surgery were investigated using an experimental design. It was hypothesized that spouses given orientation information would experience fewer anxieties and show more favorable attitudes toward hospitalization and surgery than those who did not receive orientation information. The Solomon four-group design was used, and 48 spouses were randomly assigned to one of the four experimental and control groups. The experimental treatment consisted of structured information and a question-and-answer session that oriented each spouse to the surgical experience. The control treatment consisted of each spouse visiting with the patient for 20 minutes. Immediately following the treatment, anxiety and attitude were measured by the State Anxiety Inventory, the Spouses' Perception Scale, and the Spouse Questionnaire. The results show that spouses in the experimental group had significantly more positive attitudes toward hospitalization and surgery and reported significantly fewer anxieties on one of two anxiety measures than did spouses in the control group.