Psychological Distress and Coping Strategies among Nurses during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-Sectional Online Survey

The Open Nursing Journal 07 December 2021 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874434602115010262



The emergence of COVID-19 has a significant impact on nurse’s overall health. The severity and magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic means it is extremely likely that health-care professionals will experience psychological distress as a result of their direct contact with patients who have contracted the infection.


This study aimed to evaluate levels of psychological distress among nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic, determine the associated factors, and identify nurses’ coping strategies.


This study is a cross-sectional design. Overall, 130 nurses answered online questionnaires. The questionnaires measured sociodemographic characteristics, Fear of COVID-19 Scale, the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale, and the Brief Coping Inventory.


Nurses have a moderate level of fear (mean score: 24.34 ± 13.43) and depression (43.8% of the sample), and severe anxiety (73.8%) and stress (45.4%). Anxiety and fear were positively correlated (r = .675, p < .001). Independent t-tests revealed that female nurses had higher psychological distress and fear than male nurses (p = 0.015 and p = 0.038, respectively). Nurses who cared for patients who had tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 and those who had a friend or family member who had tested positive had higher fear and psychological distress than their respective counterparts (p < .001 and p = .010, respectively). Working more hours was moderately correlated with fear and anxiety (p = 0.016). Nurses were found to generally adopt maladaptive coping styles.


Through careful study of the factors determined through this research to be associated with psychological distress among nurses, the health-care community can better prepare to mitigate nurses’ emotional and psychological toll in future pandemic situations. Working with patients who have tested positive for COVID-2019 causes psychological distress for nurses.

Keywords: Anxiety, Coping, Coronavirus, Depression, Nurses, Psychological distress, Stress.
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