Contribution of emotional and instrumental response processes in adaptation to surgery

Jean E. Johnson, Howard Leventhal, James M. Dabbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Obtained predispositional measures of anxiety, internal-external control, and situational measures of worry, fear, pain, speed of recovery, and doses of analgesics from 62 female surgical patients. Preoperative measures of fear and worry (including the mood adjective check list, a 3-item scale of worry, and 2 personality scales) were (a) positively and linearly related to postoperative emotionality, and (b) unrelated to speed of postoperative recovery and doses of analgesics. Birth order and manifest anxiety affected emotionality. Later-borns low in manifest anxiety were least emotional; later-borns high in manifest anxiety and firstborns either high or low in manifest anxiety were most emotional. Internal-external control was associated with ability to influence care. Internals obtained more needed analgesics, and if they were also firstborn, they had longer hospital stays than externals. Evidence contradicts the hypothesis that preoperative emotion is causally related to adaptive responses in this stressful situation. Data suggest that emotionality should be treated as a response and that these responses and instrumental responses can be independent. (32 ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-64
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 1971

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • analgesic doses &
  • fear &
  • internal-external control &
  • pain &
  • predispositional anxiety &
  • preoperative fear, birth order, female surgical patients
  • recovery speed &
  • situational worry &

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