critical care families, diaries, family anxiety, progress journal, stress



  1. Kloos, Janet A. PhD, RN
  2. Daly, Barbara J. PhD, RN, FAAN


The purpose of this research was to determine the effect of a Family-Maintained Progress Journal on the anxiety of the family member of patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Ninety-one family members were assigned to either the group receiving the usual information or the group that also received a diary. Anxiety was significantly lower after 3 days although the reduction was not different by group. Trait anxiety had the most influence on anxiety reduction, followed by uncertainty. Content analysis revealed negative emotions with illness appearance of the patient, requests for regular communication, and concerns about reducing pain. Family members wrote that faith in God and support of others helped them. Nurses can affect uncertainty by adjusting the information provided according to family preferences and by supporting their faith practices. Further research on the role of faith in uncertainty and anxiety during critical illness is needed.