Study: 92% of nurses report moderate-to-very high stress levels

Nurses' stress levels and coping mechanisms influence their health, according to a study published in Nursing Research and Practice.

The recently promoted study — conducted in 2016 by researchers at The University of Toledo (Ohio), Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., and Lock Haven (Pa.) University — examined questionnaire responses from 120 nurses employed by an unidentified Midwestern community hospital.

Here are eight study findings.

1. Nearly all respondents (92 percent) had moderate, high or very high levels of work-related stress. Only about 8 percent reported low or very low stress levels.

2. Seventy-eight percent of respondents got less than eight hours of sleep each night.

3. Sixty-nine percent of respondents reported no regular exercise.

4. Sixty-three percent of respondents said they don't have at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

5. Twenty-two percent of respondents were considered binge drinkers.

6. Nurses said talking with friends and loved ones (79 percent); listening to music (46 percent); watching TV (43 percent); praying/meditating (43 percent); and eating more of their favorite foods (42 percent) are the most common ways they deal with work-related stress, according to the study. Thirteen percent cited drinking alcohol as a coping mechanism, while 38 percent cited exercise.

7. Seventy percent of respondents said they "sometimes" to "every time" eat more junk food than usual to deal with workplace stress. A similar number of respondents (63 percent) said they "sometimes" to "every time" eat more food than usual as a coping mechanism.

8. The study found respondents who were part of the "high stress and poor coping" group had the worst health outcomes and highest health risk behaviors compared to those in "high stress or poor coping" and "low stress and good coping" groups.

"The combined variables of perceived stress and perceived coping adequacy influenced the health of nurses," the study's authors concluded. "Therefore, worksite health promotion programs for nurses should focus equally on stress reduction, stress management, and the development of healthy coping skills."


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