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Logo of bmcpsycBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Psychiatry
BMC Psychiatry. 2012; 12: 141.
Published online 2012 September 14. doi:  10.1186/1471-244X-12-141
PMCID: PMC3492072

Anxiety symptoms among Chinese nurses and the associated factors: a cross sectional study



Nurses are an indispensable component of the work force in the health care system. However, many of them are known to work in a stressful environment which may affect their mental well-being; the situation could be worse in rapidly transforming societies such as China. The purpose of this study was to investigate anxiety symptoms and the associated factors in Chinese nurses working in public city hospitals.


A cross-sectional survey was performed for Chinese nurses in public city hospitals of Liaoning Province, northeast China. Seven hospitals in different areas of the province were randomly selected for the study. The Zung Self-Rating Anxiety Scale was used to measure anxiety symptoms. Effort-reward imbalance questionnaire and Job Content Questionnaire were used to assess the work stressors. Univariate analysis and stepwise multivariate logistic regression analysis were used to identify the factors associated with anxiety symptoms.


All registered nurses in the seven city hospitals, totaling 1807 registered nurses were surveyed. Of the returned questionnaires, 1437 were valid (79.5%) for analysis. Utilizing the total raw score  40 as the cut-off point, the prevalence of anxiety symptoms in these nurses was 43.4%. Demographic factors (education, chronic disease and life event), lifestyle factors (regular meals and physical exercise), work conditions (hospital grade, job rank, monthly salary, nurse-patient relationships, job satisfaction and intention of leaving), job content (social support and decision latitude), effort-reward imbalance and overcommitment were all significantly related to the anxiety symptoms. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed main factors associated with anxiety symptoms were lower job rank (OR 2.501), overcommitment (OR 2.018), chronic diseases (OR 1.541), worse nurse-patient relationship (OR 1.434), higher social support (OR 0.573), lower hospital grade (OR 0.629), taking regular meals (OR 0.719) and higher level of job satisfaction (OR 0.722).


A large proportion of Chinese nurses working in public city hospitals had anxiety symptoms, which warrants immediate investigation and intervention from the hospital administrators. Meanwhile, results of the study suggest that proper counseling, promotion of healthy lifestyle behavior and improvements to the social environment in the work place may be helpful toward reducing or preventing the anxiety symptoms.

Articles from BMC Psychiatry are provided here courtesy of BioMed Central