Empirical evidence of whether information increases anxiety

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One area that has been the subject of study is whether giving information increases anxiety, and what is the psychological/physiological effect of giving information to patients for the purposes of seeking their consent. King's 1986 review looked at some studies of this. Her conclusion was that it depends upon the patient, the condition, and the way in which information is given. There is certainly some evidence that information about side effects of treatment can lead to those side effects being experienced (e.g. Cairns et al., 1985). There is also evidence, however, that giving information can improve patients' recovery (Wallace, 1984, 1986). Kerrigan and others (1993) observed that 'detailed information did not increase patient anxiety' in men undergoing elective inguinal hernia repair. However, in Chee Saw et al.'s study (1994) referred to above, 54% of respondents did not want detailed explanations, trusting in the doctor to give them the right treatment.

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