Background: Hospitalization and surgery are critical negative life events that lead to the experience of considerable anxiety in patients. Patients may perceive the day of surgery as the biggest and the most threatening day in their lives. There is paucity of information on predictors of anxiety in the current study area. The main objective of this study is to assess predictors of preoperative anxiety among patients scheduled for surgery in Jimma University Specialized Teaching Hospital. Methods: A facility based cross-sectional study was conducted using quantitative data collection technique in Jimma University Specialized Teaching Hospital from February 13 to April 13, 2012 on 239 patients scheduled for surgery. The data were collected by five trained diploma nurses using structured interviewer administered questionnaires that were prepared based on state trait anxiety inventory measurement scale. The quantitative data were entered into SPSS for windows version 16. 0 and descriptive, simple and multiple linear regression analyses were performed. Results: A total of 239 patients were enrolled in the study with a response rate of 93.0%. Their mean age was 42.7 ± 1.8 years (range 16 to 85 years). Nearly over half 53.6% were females, while 48.1% illiterate, 72.4% Oromo and 56.5% were Muslim followers. Significant preoperative anxiety was seen in 70.3% patients. The most common factors that lead to anxiety were fear of death 38.1% and fear of unknown origin 24.3% and the most common strategy mentioned by patient in reducing anxiety were talking to other patient 79.8% and religious belief. Conclusions: In the present study, two third 70.3% of preoperative patients had anxiety. Factors which were positively correlated with anxiety were trait anxiety, single and divorced, time of operation and income. Factors which were shown to reduce anxiety were preoperative anxiety related information provision and afternoon operation. Health professionals working in the hospital should provide anxiety related information for patients.
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