Stressors in the intensive care unit: Comparing the perceptions of Chinese patients and their family

Pounds S.K. Pang, Kwai Ping Lorna Suen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Admission into an intensive care unit (ICU) is deemed a stressful event by both patients and their families. It has been reported that relatives often have a different perception of the patients' stress levels in comparison with the patients themselves. This study aims to identify stressors in the ICU as perceived by the Chinese patients and their relatives. A convenience sample of 60 patients and 60 relatives was selected for this study. The Intensive Care Unit Stressor Questionnaire [Chinese] was tapped to collect the patients' perceptions of stressors. Their respective relatives were likewise asked to rate the stressors according to how they perceive the patients would rate them. A comparison between the two sets of questionnaires would reveal that the relatives evaluated the items to be more stressful than the actual perception of patients. The overall perceived stress level of ICU patients was significantly lower than their respective relatives' (z = -6.51, p < 0.001), with a mean difference of 44.71 (mean: 61.57 versus 106.28) between the two groups. It is therefore essential that appropriate strategies be implemented to alleviate the stressful feelings perceived by the patients and their families. The influence of cultural beliefs on the perceived stress level of the general Chinese population was likewise highlighted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-159
Number of pages9
JournalStress and Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Family care
  • ICU
  • Stressors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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