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Understanding stress and coping mechanisms in Indian student nurses


Aniket Shukla,

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Gurvinder Singh Kalra ,

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Abhijit Pakhare

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Nursing education and profession remain challenging and stressful with stress arising secondary to role conflict, role demand and role transition. Persistent stress from various sources could affect coping mechanisms which may lead to psychological distress and disorders. Unfortunately there are no mechanisms to address these issues. Hence it is important to identify the sources of stress and existing patterns of coping behavior in student nurses to help plan interventions.


The aim was to assess the level and source of stress, coping mechanisms and influencing factors in student nurses.


This was a cross-sectional study. Fifty nine student nurses from 2nd and 3rd year, pursuing their general nursing and midwifery course were assessed using the Student Nurse Stress Index (SNSI), Moo’s Coping Response Inventory and a socio-demographic questionnaire.


Mean score of SNSI was 59.3 indicating significant stress. Academic load and pattern of interpersonal interactions in college and home environments (interface worries) were the major source of perceived stress. Students perceived the restrictive environment, lack of quality free time, and inconsistent faculty responses to their concerns as likely reasons of their distress. Use of “approach mechanisms” was significantly higher than “avoidance coping” but both were equally used while handling stress due to academic load and interface worries. Factors like family size, responsibility and opting for a nursing career by choice affected stress and coping patterns.


Though there has been adequate clinical skills training in the nursing curriculum, little attention is paid to make the working environment less stressful and more conducive to healthy interactions. A positive trend was evident in use of “approach” over “avoidance” coping strategies. Time and stress management and use of effective coping skills to handle academic an interpersonal stress and introducing andragogical teaching methods should be incorporated early in the nursing curriculum.



How to Cite: Shukla, A., Kalra, G.S. and Pakhare, A., 2013. Understanding stress and coping mechanisms in Indian student nurses. Sri Lanka Journal of Psychiatry, 4(2), pp.29–33. DOI:
Published on 29 Dec 2013.
Peer Reviewed


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