Investigating burnout/occupational stress in relation to emotional intelligence and coping strategies in Greek nurses
Aim: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between burnout, emotional intelligence, occupational stress factors, coping strategies and demographic variables in a sample of Greek hospital nurses.
Background: Nurses in general seem to experience intense occupational stress and high risk of burnout syndrome as well as absences and premature withdrawal from work due to the complex nature of their duties. Emotional intelligence is proven to have a protective role against both stressors and burnout.
Methods: A questionnaire survey was conducted in order to measure burnout, emotional intelligence, occupational stressors, coping strategies and demographic factors, in a sample of two hundred seventy one (N=271) nurses working in general and oncology hospitals in the Athens area.
Results: Analysis of the data demonstrated that married participants and those aged between 36 to 50 years, presented significantly higher levels of emotional exhaustion than other members of the nursing staff. The results also revealed a significant positive relationship between burnout and stressors at work, as well as a negative relationship between burnout and emotional intelligence, as expected.
Conclusion: According to simple linear regression, all occupational stress factors were identified as significant predictors of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization dimensions of burnout. Also, nurses demonstrating a better relationship quality with doctors and other colleagues seem to achieve lower burnout scores and higher emotional intelligence levels.
Implications for Nursing Management: These findings suggest that emotional intelligence is potentially helpful in reducing stress and prevent burnout syndrome in Greek nursing staff.