Stress and Work-Life in a University Hospital in Turkey: Evaluation of the Brief Sympton Inventory and Ways of Coping Inventory in Hospital Staff

Article excerpt

It has long been recognized that work can influence mental well-being. Quality of medical care is dependent upon the mental well-being of health care professionals. Determination of factors in job stress is important, because it will help to prevent it. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship of work-related stress with work life variables by using The Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) and Brief Coping Styles Inventory (BCSI). A survey was conducted among hospital staff of a university teaching hospital in Turkey. Response rate was 52.4 % (N=152). A questionnaire included 47 questions on sociodemographic variables and lifestyle. Nineteen questions were derived from the Work-life Evaluation Scales. Psychological symptom status was assessed with BSI. Coping styles with stress behavior was evaluated with BCSI. Most participants showed medium level BSI subscale scores, but global indexes were at a higher level. Females had higher depression and anxiety scores than did males; graduates of university programs (mostly nurses) had higher somatisation, obsessive compulsive interpersonal sensitivity, depression, hostility, paranoid ideation, global severity index, positive symptom total and positive symptom distress index scores than did other respondents of other educational levels, staff who were employed by the university (i.e., residents and nurses) had higher BSI symptom scores. In conclusion, even though the respondents did not seem generally to be dissatisfied concerning their work-life, the majority of staff had depressive symptoms and were distressed. Nurses and residents in particular, should receive counseling concerning coping styles with stress.

Keywords: stress, work-life, BSI, BSCI, staff, Turkey. Please address correspondence and reprint requests to: Dr. Hakan Yaman, Celebiler mh., 119.cd.no: 11/7, 320401sparta, Turkey. Phone: 90 536 320 99 33; Fax: 90 246 237 02 40; Email

It has long been recognized that work can influence mental well-being. Depression, anxiety and psychological distress have been shown to be elevated in individuals working in high stress jobs (Corpley, Steptoe, & Joekes, 1999).

Stress has been defined as any event which puts demands upon the organism and sets in motion a nonspecific bodily response which leads to a variety of temporary or permanent physiological, psychological and structural changes (Order, Cosar, Oztas, & Candansayar, 2000). Although several models have been used to describe stress (Sahin & Durak, 1995), the demand-control model has been widely used as an instrument for measuring work-related stress, or job strain (Ohlson, Soderfeldt, & Jones, 2001). Different sources of stress for the health professions have been described. Medical-training systems foster maladaptive coping in physicians through excessive work loads, sleep deprivation, perpetually changing work conditions, and social isolation (Yaman & Ungan, 2002). Those physicians who manage to survive their training years find that their expectations often do not match reality. The physician has to work more quickly and longer to meet demands (Fawzy, Fawzy, & Pasnau, 1991). Sources of stress for nurses do not differ from those of physicians. The amount of work expected from nursing personnel, working rotating shifts, unavailability of doctors and so on, are defined sources of stress for this profession (Caldwell & Weiner, 1981). Studies of other health professionals such as workers in human services are scarce. They are reported to encounter problems like criminality or poverty in clients, and conflicts between idealistic role models and harsh reality (Ohlson, Soderfeldt, Jones, & Theorell, 2001).

We are not aware of any study dealing with stress and work life in a university hospital in Turkey, which could serve for international comparisons. We believe that the quality of medical care is dependent upon the mental well-being of health care professionals. …