Disordered eating and job stress among nurses


Keith A. King
Health Promotion and Education
University of Cincinnati
PO Box 210002, 526 TC
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0068
E-mail: keith.king@uc.edu


Aim  The purpose of this study was to examine disordered eating behaviours among nurses in the state of Ohio.

Background  Individuals involved in disordered eating tend to report more frequent and higher levels of perceived stress than their counterparts. As nurses regularly perform stressful roles and responsibilities within a high-stress environment, this group may be at elevated risk of disordered eating.

Method  A 65-item survey was mailed to a random sample of 1000 nurses in the state of Ohio.

Results  A total of 435 nurses (47%) returned completed surveys. Most (93%) were registered nurses (RNs) and 87% were over 31 years old. Results indicated that disordered eating differed significantly based on perceived job stress and perceived body satisfaction. Nurses with high levels of perceived job stress and low levels of body satisfaction had higher disordered eating involvement.

Conclusions  Nurses reporting high levels of job stress are at increased risk of disordered eating behaviours. Recommendations for future research are offered.

Implications for nursing management  Employee wellness programmes should be developed that educate and support nurses to make healthy lifestyle choices.