Dissertation Abstract

The Development of a Protocol for Health Care Providers Treating MRI-Related Anxiety

Publication Number:  AAT3088242
Author:  Phelps, Kelly
School:  Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
Date:  2003
Pages:  135
Subject:  Psychotherapy

The purpose of this demonstration project is to develop a treatment protocol that prepares patients for MRI procedures as well as reduces their anxiety with the use of exposure techniques. The MRI is a valuable diagnostic tool and has made a considerable contribution to the healthcare system. As the MRI's popularity increases, it has become apparent that the MRI can cause people significant distress and anxiety both prior to, during and following the procedure. The intensity of this reaction often results in avoidance of procedure and failure to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment. There is an extensive body of literature demonstrating the effectiveness of current anxiety treatments, however, very little has been done to utilize these approaches with this population. This project is a report on the development of a treatment protocol for practitioners treating individuals experiencing MRI related anxiety.

The review of the literature examines the increasing need for a psychological intervention in managing the anxiety related reactions to the MRI and identifies the specific interventions used in treating individuals experiencing anxiety. In addition, current studies demonstrating the effectiveness of these interventions are reviewed and applied to the treatment of this population. A prototype protocol has been developed to address the anxiety typically experienced by individuals who are preparing for a MRI scan.

The treatment protocol has been created to increase treatment providers' awareness of the anxiety that often accompanies these procedures, as well as inform them of effective interventions that address the physiological, cognitive and behavioral components of anxiety. Findings and directions for future use of the treatment protocol will be addressed in detail given the available literature.

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