Nurses' Work-Related Stress in China: A Comparison Between Psychiatric and General Hospitals


  • Conflict of Interest Statement

    The authors report no actual or potential conflicts of interest.

  • Yun-Ke Qi, Feng-Rong An, and Jiao-Ying Zeng contributed equally to the paper.



Little is known about the level of work-related stress in nurses in China. This study compared the level of work-related stress between female nurses working in psychiatric and general hospitals in China.

Design and Methods

A descriptive comparative cross-sectional design was used. A consecutive sample of nurses from two psychiatric hospitals (N = 297) and a medical unit (N = 408) of a general hospital completed a written survey including socio-demographic data and a measure of work-related stress (Nurse Stress Inventory).


Compared to the nurses working in the general hospital, those working in the psychiatric setting had a higher level of stress in the domains of working environment and resources (p < .001) and patient care (p < .001), but lower workload and time (p < .001). Multivariate analyses revealed that college or higher level of education (β = .1, p < .001), exposure to violence in the past 6 months (β = .2, p < .001), longer working experience, and working in psychiatric hospitals were associated with high work-related stress (β = .2, p < .001).

Practice Implications

Considering the harmful effects of work-related stress, specific stress management workshops and effective staff supportive initiatives for Chinese nurses are warranted.