Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)

First Advisor

Mark D. Siegel, MD

Second Advisor

Margaret Pisani, MD


The prevalence of psychiatric symptoms in next-of-kin (NOK) of intensive care unit (ICU) patients has been reported at higher than 70% when screening is performed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). The primary purpose of this study was to assess the ability of the HADS to predict psychiatric illness, diagnosed with the aide of a validated tool, the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID). In addition, we asked NOK to rate aspects of the ICU experience to determine possible associations with psychiatric diagnosis. Thirty-four NOK were enrolled in this study from July 2006 to November 2006. Subjects were interviewed to gather demographic information, their perception of the ICU experience, and to administer the SCID and the HADS. At least 6 months later, subjects were contacted by telephone to determine presence of psychiatric morbidity after the ICU experience. Fifty-six percent of all NOK experienced symptoms of either anxiety or depression during the ICU admission and 24% had psychiatric illness. The HADS had 100% sensitivity and 58% specificity when used as a screening tool for psychiatric diagnosis. Those with any SCID diagnosis were more likely to be a spouse (50% vs. 9%, p = 0.013) or a primary caregiver (60% vs. 8%, p = 0.003). Most NOK identified the healthcare team as supportive, though a subgroup of NOK who slept in the ICU reported that they found the healthcare team less supportive. This small study suggests the HADS is able to predict psychiatric illness in NOK of ICU patients. The ability to implement this tool as part of clinical practice to better meet the needs of families in the ICU warrants further investigation.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access