• Chinese nurses;
  • coping strategies;
  • Hong Kong;
  • mental health

This study examined the types of coping strategies used by hospital nurses in Hong Kong. The impacts of these coping strategies on the mental health of nurses were also investigated. Results showed that coping strategies were both situation-specific and culture-specific, with direct action coping, acceptance and positive thinking used more frequently than avoidance and alcohol. It was found that more than one-third of the nurses were considered to be at risk of developing poor mental health, and the most frequent symptomatic complaints included anxieties and feelings of inadequacy in handling daily activities. Nurses who were mentally healthy used more direct action coping and positive thinking, and fewer avoidance strategies and drinking than did nurses who were at risk of developing poor mental health. Contrary to our hypothesis, nurses who adopted more acceptance strategies had poorer mental health. Implications of the study are discussed.