This study was designed to test the outcomes of a preoperative teaching program for cholecystectomy patients and to determine the appropriate time to offer the program. The hypotheses were: (a) Patients in a preadmission program will recover better than those in a program given the eve of surgery, and (b) patients in the control group will have a poorer recovery than those in the two experimental groups. The outcomes measured were state-anxiety, ventilatory function, well-being, pain, functional ability, analgesics, and length of hospitalization. There were no significant differences between the three groups except in state-anxiety the eve of surgery which was higher in the control than in the two experimental groups. State-anxiety the eve of surgery and trait-anxiety were the most important variables affecting outcomes. There was a positive and significant linear relationship between pre- and postoperative state-anxiety.