Nurses are known to be exposed to occupational stress. However, occupational stress is not well documented for nurses in psychiatric institutions in Taiwan. A cross-sectional study was conducted to explore the work-related stress and risk factors of nurses in psychiatric institutions in Taiwan. A structured questionnaire was distributed to nurses at five state-owned psychiatric hospitals in Taiwan in 2001. Demographic information, working environment, and personal health status were inquired. Occupational stress was assessed based on the Chinese version of Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ). General health status and mental health were evaluated by the International Quality of Life Assessment Short Form-36 (IQOLA SF-36). A total of 573 questionnaires were disseminated to nurses and 518 (90.4%) were satisfactorily completed by nurses, including 408 female full-time nurses who had been in their current work for more than 6 months. In the past one month, 17.2% of nurses reported being under significant stress often or always. Assault episodes were reported by 45.1% of nurses in the past 6 months. Among the nurses, 16.9%, 25.2%, 50.0%, and 7.8% belong to the "High strain", "Low strain", "Active", and "Passive" groups, respectively. Perceived occupational stress was associated with young age, widowed/divorced/separated marital status, high psychological demand, low workplace support, and threat of assault at work. Lower general health score was associated with low job control, high psychological demand, and perceived occupational stress. A lower mental health score was associated with low job control, high psychological demand, low workplace support, and perceived occupational stress. We concluded that nurses in psychiatric institutions are under significant stress related to work factors.
2005 by the Japan Society for Occupational Health