Volume 5 (2018) Issue 1 Pages 12-24
Aim: This study aims to structure the process of cognitive evaluation of stress in disaster relief nurses, focusing on long-term adjustment or maladjustment.
Methods: A self-administered questionnaire was completed by 535 disaster relief nurses from Japanese prefectures outside the impact zone of the Great East Japan Earthquake. The study was based on the theory of stress and divided into three stages: cognitive evaluation of stress, secondary evaluation of emotional changes and re-evaluation of individual adjustment or maladjustment. External impact factors were established for each stage. A checklist for disaster relief workers and the Impact of Event Scale-Revised were employed. A structural equation model with observed variables was used.
Results: The endogenous variable relationships of the structural model comprised: (a) cognitive evaluation of stress and emotional changes; and (b) negative emotions and long-term inability to cope. External impact factors were as follows: for cognitive evaluation of stress, gender (female), marital status (married), timing of disaster relief activities (within 2 weeks of the disaster), nature of the activities (work at evacuation sites), and individual adjustment behaviors (focusing on the problem); for negative emotions, assessment of others’ intentions and adjustment behaviors during work (laughing and joking); for long-term maladjustment, inappropriate assessments of one’s own behavior and individual adjustment behaviors (focusing on emotion). The structural model showed discrepancies due to gender.
Conclusions: The cognitive evaluation process of disaster relief nurses’ stress could be structured according to stress theory. Furthermore, the study revealed differences in the structural model by gender.