A survey of role stress, coping and health in Australian and New Zealand hospital nurses

Chang, Esther M. L., Bidewell, John W., Huntington, Annette D., Daly, John, Johnson, Amanda, Wilson, Helen, Lambert, Vicki A. and Lambert, Clinton E. (2007) A survey of role stress, coping and health in Australian and New Zealand hospital nurses. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 44 8: 1354-1362. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2006.06.003

Author Chang, Esther M. L.
Bidewell, John W.
Huntington, Annette D.
Daly, John
Johnson, Amanda
Wilson, Helen
Lambert, Vicki A.
Lambert, Clinton E.
Title A survey of role stress, coping and health in Australian and New Zealand hospital nurses
Journal name International Journal of Nursing Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0020-7489
Publication date 2007-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2006.06.003
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 44
Issue 8
Start page 1354
End page 1362
Total pages 9
Place of publication Bromley, United Kingdom
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Subject 1110 Nursing
Formatted abstract
Previous research has identified international and cultural differences in nurses’ workplace stress and coping responses. We hypothesised an association between problem-focused coping and improved health, emotion-focused coping with reduced health, and more frequent workplace stress with reduced health.

Test the above hypotheses with Australian and New Zealand nurses, and compare Australian and New Zealand nurses’ experience of workplace stress, coping and health status.

Participants and settings:
Three hundred and twenty-eight New South Wales (NSW) and 190 New Zealand (NZ) volunteer acute care hospital nurses (response rate 41%) from randomly sampled nurses.

Design and method:
Postal survey consisting of a demographic questionnaire, the Nursing Stress Scale, the WAYS of Coping Questionnaire and the SF-36 Health Survey Version 2.

Consistent with hypotheses, more frequent workplace stress predicted lower physical and mental health. Problem-focused coping was associated with better mental health. Emotion-focused coping was associated with reduced mental health. Contrary to hypotheses, coping styles did not predict physical health. NSW and NZ scored effectively the same on sources of workplace stress, stress coping methods, and physical and mental health when controlling for relevant variables.


Results suggest mental health benefits for nurses who use problem-solving to cope with stress by addressing the external source of the stress, rather than emotion-focused coping in which nurses try to control or manage their internal response to stress. Cultural similarities and similar hospital environments could account for equivalent findings for NSW and NZ
Keyword Role stress
Workplace stress
Physical health
Mental health
New Zealand
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 51 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 20 Mar 2009, 01:41:47 EST by Alexandra Cooney on behalf of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work