Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between the mental health of Turkish nursing students and the stress experienced during their education, their ways of coping, self-esteem, social support and individual factors.
Background: Studies on nursing students have shown that students who were not in possession of effective coping strategies were at risk of presenting psychiatric symptoms when under stressful conditions.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional, case-control study. The sample consisted of 516 nursing students who were studying in an undergraduate program in Turkey. Participants provided data on sociodemographic characteristics by completing the Nursing Education Stress Scale, Coping Behavior Inventory for Nursing Students, Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and the General Health Questionnaire.
Results: The main factors which were considered to affect the mental health of nursing students, including "total stress" and "self-esteem" scores, "general health" evaluation, "satisfaction with school life" and "presence of a negative event within the last year", were included in all models of the General Health Questionnaire analysis. Analysis of the data indicated that these factors had strong relationship with mental health of the nursing students.
Discussion: It is recommended that the mental health of students be monitored throughout the nursing education period and that preventive practices should be established in order to forestall mental health problems amongst nursing students.
Conclusion: The stress levels of nursing students should be monitored in order to facilitate their ability to cope with stressful situations during their training, and components for coping with stress should be included in the curricula of nursing departments.
Keywords: Coping; Mental health; Self-esteem; Social support; Stress.
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