Positive psychotherapy for depression and self-efficacy in undergraduate nursing students: A randomized, controlled trial

Int J Ment Health Nurs. 2017 Aug;26(4):375-383. doi: 10.1111/inm.12255. Epub 2016 Sep 16.


Nursing students across the globe experience depressive symptoms, and many interventions have been used to alleviate their depression. However, few interventions focus on students' personal strengths and advantages. The aim of the present study was to explore the effects of an 8-week group positive psychotherapy (PPT) programme on depression and self-efficacy in full-time undergraduate nursing students. A randomized, controlled trial was conducted for 76 nursing students (34 in the experimental group, 42 in the control group). The Beck Depression Inventory-II and the General Self-Efficacy Scale were used to collect data prior to, immediately after PPT, 3 months', and 6 months' post-PPT. Repeated-measures analysis of variance indicated that the intervention significantly alleviated depression and improved self-efficacy (each P < 0.05); the effect of time and time-group interaction was also significant (each P < 0.05). The findings suggest that PPT could significantly relieve depressive symptoms and improve self-efficacy. We recommend that PPT is effective in alleviating depression and improving self-efficacy in undergraduate nursing students. Academic mental health nurses should appreciate the value of PPT and consider incorporating it in psychological support methods in order to facilitate nursing students' mental health.

Keywords: depression; mental health; nursing; positive psychology; self-efficacy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychological Tests
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Students, Nursing / psychology*
  • Young Adult