Predictors of depressive symptoms in female medical-surgical hospital nurses

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Predictors of depressive symptoms were identified in a sample of 150 female medical-surgical hospital nurses. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire and instruments to measure occupational stress (Nursing Stress Scale), major life events (Social Readjustment Rating Scale), somatic symptoms (Patient Health Questionnaire-15), and depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale; CES-D) during a one time survey. Thirty-five percent of the nurses scored 16 on the CES-D, the cutoff for mild to moderate depressive symptoms. Fatigue or low energy (43%), pain in their extremities or joints (30%), trouble sleeping (29%), back pain (28%), and headaches (18%) were the primary somatic complaints. Depressive symptoms were positively correlated with somatic symptoms (r =.55, p .01), major life events (r =.41, p .01), and occupational stress (r =.29, p .01). Years employed in the hospital setting (r = -.22, p .01) and household income (r = -.18, p .05) were inversely related to depressive symptoms. Hierarchical multiple regression was used to identify predictors of nurses' depressive symptoms. Somatic symptoms ( =.39, p .01), occupational stress ( =.18, p .05), major life events ( =.18, p .05), and income ( = -.15, p .05) accounted for 34% of the variance in nurses' depressive symptom scores. The information from this study can guide the development of interventions to reduce depressive symptoms among hospital nurses. Reductions in depressive symptoms can advance health and quality of life for the hospital nurse. Symptom alleviation or reduction may improve nursing care delivery when distressing symptoms interfere with professional performance among nurses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-326
Number of pages7
JournalIssues in Mental Health Nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Delta Psi Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau International and the Arvle and Ellen Turner Thacker Endowment Fund, College of Education, University of Kentucky.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatric Mental Health


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