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Keywords:

  • burnout;
  • health conditions;
  • nurses occupational burden;
  • stress

Accessible summary

  • • 
    Nursing is associated with high levels of emotional strain and heavy workloads.
  • • 
    Work-related behaviour is linked to health.
  • • 
    Nurses with unhealthy work-related behaviour and experience have a higher risk of reduced mental and physical health.
  • • 
    Prevention of burnout and illness needs to focus on both the individual and the working conditions.

Abstract

Nursing is associated with high levels of emotional strain and heavy workloads. Changing working conditions raise the importance of investigating job satisfaction, stress and burnout and its consequences for nurses. The aim of the study was to investigate whether work-related behaviour and experience patterns are associated with mental and physical health status in nurses. A sample of 356 nurses in four German hospitals were interviewed using questionnaires regarding work-related behaviour and experience patterns, work stress, depression, anxiety and physical symptoms (‘Work-related Behaviour and Experience Pattern’– AVEM and ERI). The main result of this study is that unhealthy work-related behaviour and experience patterns (i.e. the excessive ambitious type and the resigned type) are associated with reduced mental and physical health. Preventive, as well as intervention, strategies are needed that focus both on the individual as well as on working conditions.