. Employment in human service occupations as nursing is reported to display high risk for mental health, and occupational stress has been found to be one of the major work-related health problems. The objective of the study was to explore the associations between psychosocial job characteristics, social support, and internal resources as determinants of mental health status in a sample of Kaunas district nurses.
Material and methods
. A survey was conducted among the nurses of Kaunas district community in 2008–2009. A total of 638 nurses were randomly selected, and 372 filled in the questionnaire (response rate, 58.3%). Mental distress was measured using the Goldberg 12-item General Health Questionnaire and psychosocial job characteristics using the Swedish version of the Karasek Demand-Control questionnaire. Sense of coherence was measured by the three-item version questionnaire. The logistic regression was performed.
. Less than one-third (23.0%) of nurses had symptoms of mental distress; 31.9% of nurses had weak sense of coherence. High job demands were associated with mental distress after adjustment for age, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, job control, social support, sense of coherence, family crisis, self-rated health as compared to one year ago (OR=2.15; 95% CI, 1.07–4.30), low job control (OR=1.22; 95% CI, 0.64–2.31), job strain-low social support at work (OR=3.78; 95% CI, 2.08–6.87).
. Mental distress among the nurses of Kaunas district was associated with adverse psychosocial job characteristics. Job strain-low social support at work was the strongest risk factor for mental distress among nurses. Strong sense of coherence as personal characteristic served as a buffer, protecting nurses against the development of mental health problems.