An exploration of the relationship between emotional intelligence and stress, psychological distress and coping strategies for undergraduate nursing students

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Asturias, Nerissa (2017) An exploration of the relationship between emotional intelligence and stress, psychological distress and coping strategies for undergraduate nursing students. Research Master thesis, Victoria University.

Abstract

Background: Undergraduate nursing students may experience high levels of stress during their study. This may lead to high attrition rates. Coping strategies used to deal with stress may not always be effective. A growing number of studies have examined the effects of emotional intelligence in handling stress. The primary aim of this study was to examine the relationship between emotional Intelligence, stress and psychological distress, and coping strategies for undergraduate nursing students. Methods: A descriptive correlational design was used in this study. A convenience sample of 377 nursing students participated. Data were collected by self-report questionnaires. The Schutte Self-Report Emotional Intelligence Test, Perceived Stress Scale, Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, Coping Strategy Inventory – Short Form, and a demographic survey were utilised to obtain data. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics. The relationship between emotional intelligence, perceived stress, psychological distress and coping strategies was analysed by univariate analysis (independent samples t-test, one-way ANOVA, Pearson’s Correlation) and multiple regression. Completion and submission of questionnaires was implied consent. Institutional ethics approval was obtained. Findings: Second and third year undergraduate nursing students (n=377) participated in this study. Most participants had average levels of emotional intelligence and were likely to be experiencing moderate to high levels of stress and some degree of psychological distress. The participants reported preference for utilisation of engagement, rather than disengagement, coping strategies. A negative correlation was found between emotional intelligence and perceived stress, while a positive correlation was found between emotional intelligence and coping strategies and psychological distress. Significant differences were identified in emotional intelligence level, perceived stress and utilisation of coping strategies based on individual characteristics. Conclusion: While the majority of participants had an average level of emotional intelligence and were more likely to use engagement coping strategies rather than disengagement coping strategies, a moderate proportion of students could have been experiencing moderate levels of stress and psychological distress which needed to be addressed. Future research may explore the development, application and evaluation of strategies to reduce stress and distress for students undertaking tertiary education in nursing. In particular, international students and migrants may require specific support to enhance their educational experience.

Additional Information

Master of Nursing by Research

Item type Thesis (Research Master thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/36449
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1103 Clinical Sciences
Historical > FOR Classification > 1110 Nursing
Current > Division/Research > College of Health and Biomedicine
Keywords emotional intelligence, stress, coping strategies, stress management, nursing students, psychological distress, academic performance
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