The aim of this study was to assess the stress load in work settings. Nurses of today have
stressful work loads, combined with low wages and low social status. Two groups of
nurses were chosen in this study, one nursed children and the other elderly. Does taking
care of elderly cause more mental stress than taking care of children, since old people may
need more social contact with the busy nurses and since elderly have a higher risk of dying
compared to children. On the other hand experiencing the death of a child could be
overwhelming. Nurses have many physical demands in their work as well, for example
lifting the patients. The author wanted to find out if one group had more physical and
psychological strain than the other.
Role theory showed that organizations gave meaning to employees work satisfaction and
stress in general. Therefore, it was interesting to see differences for nurses’ role stress.
Fewer nurses have to do more tasks than before, because public sector is saving money
from that sector. This can increase psychological stress and risk for burnout. Burnout is
common in the health-human services sector and hence it is included to study. To
alleviate strain people use coping strategies and therefore the author wanted to find out
which coping strategies nurses used.
The most important variables in the study were strain and coping. Strain, in other words is
stress as a physiological and psychological response from organism to different types of
pressures (Bunkholdt, 1997). Role stress can be defined as a state of tension and anxiety,
whenever a person finds it difficult to perform an assigned role. There can be two different
types of role stress; role conflict and role ambiguity. Role conflict is defined as when a
person has been given demands from different directions and those demands are
contradicting then the person will experience stress. This person will become dissatisfied
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