Touch has been used for years by nurses and nurse practitioners in everyday practice both purposefully and incidentally. This touch has been in the form of therapeutic touch, massage, and coincidental. The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to evaluate the impact of touch, in the form of massage, on the reduction of anxiety levels in elders seeking health care. Watson's (19 79) Theory of Human Caring was the theoretical guide. Using Spielberger's (1983) State-Trait Anxiety Inventory Questionnaire, data were collected from a control group of 6 subjects and an experimental group of 5 subjects. These subjects were recruited from elders presenting for health care at a family practitioner's office in a small southern town. The directional hypothesis was there will be a decrease from pre- to post-anxiety level scores for elders who receive touch therapy and those who do not. A singletailed t test was used to analyze the data. Since t (11) = -3.71, 2 < .003 for state anxiety level scores and t (11) = -1.91, p < .05 for trait anxiety level scores, the directional hypothesis was accepted. Touch therapy in the form of massage does reduce anxiety levels, both state and trait, in elders seeking health care. Therefore, touch iii therapy may be a valuable intervention for the nurse practitioner in decreasing stress and improving communication with elder patients. Further research is recommended to determine if similar findings will occur with replication of this study. When replicating this study, a large sample size should be utilized to enhance the generalization of the findings. Additionally, a study of longitudinal design would determine the continued effects of touch.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Dr. Mary Patricia Curtis

Second Advisor

Janice Giallourakis

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons