A longitudinal study of stress and psychological distress in nurses and nursing students

Watson, Roger, Gardiner, Eric, Hogston, Richard, Gibson, Helen, Stimpson, Anne, Wrate, Robert and Deary, Ian (2009) A longitudinal study of stress and psychological distress in nurses and nursing students. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 18 2: 270-278. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2702.2008.02555.x

Author Watson, Roger
Gardiner, Eric
Hogston, Richard
Gibson, Helen
Stimpson, Anne
Wrate, Robert
Deary, Ian
Title A longitudinal study of stress and psychological distress in nurses and nursing students
Journal name Journal of Clinical Nursing   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0962-1067
Publication date 2009-01
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2008.02555.x
Volume 18
Issue 2
Start page 270
End page 278
Total pages 9
Editor Carol Haigh
Debra Jackson
Roger Watson
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject C1
111099 Nursing not elsewhere classified
920210 Nursing
Formatted abstract
Aim. The aim of this study was to investigate how differences in life events and stress contribute to psychological distress in nurses and nursing students.

Background. Stress is an issue for nursing students and qualified nurses leading to psychological distress and attrition.

Design. A longitudinal study using four time waves was conducted between 1994–1997.

Methods. Measures were taken of stress, life events and psychological distress in addition to a range of demographic data. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, linear modelling and mixed-effects modelling. The study was set in Scotland, UK and used newly qualified nurses and nursing students from four university departments of nursing over four years. The study was initiated with 359 participants (147 nurses and 212 nursing students) and complete data were obtained for 192 participants.

Results. Stress levels, psychological distress and life events are all associated within time and across time. At baseline, life events and stress contributed significantly to psychological distress. The pattern of psychological distress differed between the nursing students and the newly qualified nurses with a high level in the nurses after qualifying and starting their career.

Conclusion. Stress, individual traits, adverse life events and psychological distress are all interrelated. Future lines of enquiry should focus on the transition between being a nursing student and becoming a nurse.

Relevance to clinical practice. Stress and psychological distress may have negative outcomes for the retention of nursing students in programmes of study and newly qualified nurses in the nursing workforce.

Keyword nurses
nursing studies
psychological upset
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Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 31 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 09 Mar 2010, 13:21:11 EST by Vicki Percival on behalf of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work