Mediating effect of coping styles on the association between psychological capital and psychological distress among Chinese nurses: a cross-sectional study

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Accessible summary

What is known on the subject?

What does this paper add to existing knowledge?

What are the implications for practice?


PsyCap includes four categories namely self-efficacy, hope, optimism and resilience. Research has demonstrated that PsyCap and coping styles affect current psychological distress. Nevertheless, few studies have explored the role of coping styles in PsyCap and psychological distress.


This study investigated the role of coping styles as a mediator in PsyCap and psychological distress among Chinese nurses.


Participants included 538 nurses who completed self-report questionnaires assessing PsyCap, coping styles and psychological distress. Linear regression analyses were used to explore the role of coping styles.


PsyCap, coping styles and psychological distress were significantly correlated. Among the subcategories of PsyCap, optimism and hope were most highly correlated with psychological distress. Coping styles is a partial mediator of PsyCap and psychological distress.

Implications for mental health nursing:

The significant role of negative and positive coping styles in PsyCap and psychological distress has implications for hospital administrators, especially nurse leaders. Effective strategies should be implemented to improve PsyCap and coping styles among Chinese nurses, to alleviate psychological distress. Optimism and hope should be the focus of the improvement. Different styles of coping are developed from education and experience. Therefore, it is necessary for nurse managers to organize educational and training programmes to improve coping skills among nurses. Studies suggest that coping styles are affected by social support. Thus, nurse managers should also assist nurses with social support and enhance coping strategies to reduce psychological distress.

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