Home » Blogs » Leveraging Adversity » The Right Mindset Goes A Long Way When Facing Medical Challenges

The Right Mindset Goes A Long Way When Facing Medical Challenges

mindset photo


“I was surprised by this result. Prior to this study, I did not believe patient mood could have an effect on outcome,” said Nadja Kadom, M.D., associate professor of radiology at Emory University School of Medicine and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.


Kadom was referring to her study which analyzed the results of 230 patients, including 120 women and 110 men (mean age 55 years) who underwent image-guided interventional radiology procedures including vascular and kidney interventions. The minimally invasive procedures involved the use of a catheter, which is inserted through a blood vessel and threaded to an area of the body, such as a blocked artery, for treatment.


Upon arriving for their procedure, patients were asked to complete a questionnaire called the Positive Affect Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) to assess their mood. Using a five-point rating scale, patients reported to what extent they felt strong, alert, determined, and to what degree they were experiencing negative feelings, such as guilt, nervousness or irritability.


Dr. Kadom and her fellow researchers Elvira V. Lang, M.D., Ph.D., and Gheorghe Doros, Ph.D., then grouped the patients based on high and low scores for positive affect and high and low scores for negative affect. Those groups were then correlated with the occurrence of adverse events during the procedures, such as a prolonged lack of oxygen, low or high blood pressure, post-operative bleeding or an abnormally slow heart rate.


After a statistical analysis of the data was performed, the researchers found that patients with a high negative affect experienced significantly more adverse events than patients with low negative affect. Specifically, of the 104 patients with high negative affect, 22 percent had an adverse event, compared to 12 percent of the 126 patients with low negative affect (Kadom, Lang & Doros, 2017).


“Our study shows that mood matters,” noted Dr. Lang. “You don’t need to have a chipper, cheery attitude prior to your procedure. You just have to overcome negative emotions and get to a neutral level” (Kadom et al., 2017, para 8).


Lang goes on to describe the procedure room is a two-way street in which the patient can affect the healthcare professional and vice versa. She explains, “This is a real issue. Any time the team must manage an adverse event, it takes attention away from the procedure” (Kadom et al., 2017, para 9).


Kadom also points to the tendency to focus on improving medical equipment and techniques to minimize adverse events, while ignoring what patients bring to the table. The suggestion, for Kadom and her team is that healthcare providers should be trained in resilience and techniques to create their own positive emotional states, as well as coping strategies to help patients modify negative emotions and reframe their mindset prior to undergoing a procedure. “We need to help staff show patients how to manage their own emotions to help create an environment for a better outcome,” she explains (Kadom, 2017, para 11).

The Right Mindset Goes A Long Way When Facing Medical Challenges

Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT

Claire Dorotik-Nana LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in post-traumatic growth, leveraging adversity, and other epic human achievements. Claire has written multiple continuing education courses for Professional Development Resources, Zur Institute, and International Sport Science Association. Claire has also authored multiple books, including:
Leverage: The Science of Turning Setbacks into Springboards and On The Back Of A Horse: Harnessing The Healing Power Of The Human-Equine Bond. For more information about Leveraging Adversity or Claire, visit

One comment: View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Dorotik-Nana, C. (2019). The Right Mindset Goes A Long Way When Facing Medical Challenges. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 27 Jul 2019
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.