A literature review on stress and coping strategies in nursing students

Leodoro J. Labrague*, Denise M. McEnroe-Petitte, Donna Gloe, Loretta Thomas, Ioanna V. Papathanasiou, Konstantinos Tsaras

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

178 Citations (Scopus)


Background: While stress is gaining attention as an important subject of research in nursing literature, coping strategies, as an important construct, has never been comprehensively reviewed. Aim: The aims of this review were: (1) to identify the level of stress, its sources, and (2) to explore coping methods used by student nurses during nursing education. Methods: This is a systematic review of studies conducted from 2000 to 2015 on stress and coping strategies in nursing students. CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsycINFO and PubMed were the primary databases for the search of literature. Keywords including “stress”, “coping strategy”, “nursing students” and “clinical practice” in 13 studies met the criteria. Findings: Stress levels in nursing students range from moderate to high. Main stressors identified included stress through the caring of patients, assignments and workloads, and negative interactions with staff and faculty. Common coping strategies utilized by nursing students included problem-solving strategies such as developing objectives to resolve problems, adopting various strategies to solve problems, and finding the meaning of stressful events. Conclusion: Nurse educators may consider the use of formulation and implementation of empirically tested interventions to reduce stress while enhancing coping skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-480
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 3 2017


  • coping strategy
  • nursing students and clinical practice
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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