• nurses;
  • nursing;
  • renal transplantation;
  • self-efficacy;
  • stress

Aims.  The aim of this study is to quantify the amount and causes of stress in renal transplant recipients.

Background.  After renal transplantation, patients may encounter physical and psychosocial problems. Through patient collaboration with healthcare professionals, treatment after transplantation is aimed at restoring and maintaining a ‘normal’ life. To achieve quality of life, research needs to quantify the amount and causes of stress of renal transplant recipients, from a patient-centred perspective.

Design.  A cross-sectional, descriptive study.

Methods.  The study was conducted in the outpatient department of a medical centre in northern Taiwan from September 2005–February 2006. The recipients were a convenience sample of 153 participants who had undergone renal transplantation.

Results.  The results showed that renal transplant recipients had low to moderate stress in four areas. Gender (male), self-efficacy and hospitalisation for infection explained 17% of the variance found for the stress of uncertainty; hospitalisation for rejection and infection explained 22% of the variance for complications; and gender (male) and self-efficacy explained 8% of the variance for the interactions with others. Post-transplant time was not found to be a predictor of stress.

Conclusion.  After renal transplantation, patients experience multi-dimensional stresses that previous research has not explored. Self-efficacy was shown to be a significant predictor of the stress of uncertainty and interactions with others. Enhancing recipients’ self-efficacy of self-care behaviour can lower the stress that found in three areas.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Healthcare professionals should develop an evidence-based programme for stress management for renal transplantation patients that incorporates strategies to enhance patient’s self-efficacy of self-care behaviour. Recipients’ beliefs in their ability to successfully perform self-care behaviour can be promoted by a mastery experience, vicarious experience with other patients, social persuasion and re-explanation of somatic and emotional states by discussing coping methods with healthcare professionals.