• coping;
  • depression;
  • nurses;
  • stress;
  • support;
  • Taiwan

Aims and objectives.  In this study, we tested the following hypotheses among psychiatric nurses: (1) job stress would be positively correlated with depression; (2) coping behaviour would be significantly correlated with depression and moderate the relationship between job stress and depression; (3) social support would be significantly negatively correlated with depression and was a significant moderator on the relationship between job stress and depression.

Background.  Most studies in Taiwan related to depression have focused on the general public rather than nurses. The main effect of job stress (coping behaviour, social support) on level of depression has been documented in some population, but the moderating effects of coping behaviours and social support on the relationship between job stress and depression have not been well studied among nurses, especially among psychiatric nurses.

Design.  A cross-sectional research design was employed.

Method.  A self-report questionnaire was adopted to measure personal characteristics, depression (Beck Depression Inventory), job stress (Taiwanese Nurse Stress Checklist), coping behaviour (Jalowiec Coping Scale) and social support (short form, Interpersonal Support Evaluation List). Eligible subjects were female, non-supervisory, inpatient ward nurses in a psychiatric hospital in southern Taiwan. One hundred and fifty-four questionnaires were distributed, and the response rate was 91·6%.

Results.  After adjusting for covariates, we found that: (1) Job stress and affective-oriented coping were significantly positively correlated with BDI-II scores. (2) Coping behaviour was not a significant moderator on the relationship between job stress and depression scores among psychiatric nurses, but social support was.

Conclusions.  Depression scores were correlated with job stress and affective-oriented coping, but social support could work to reduce the effect of stress on depression among psychiatric nurses.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Nursing managers should explore both ways of reducing job stress and techniques for building social support networks in the institution to protect their members against stress and depression.