A descriptive corelational study of lifestyle practices and stress among baccalaureate nursing students

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Brehmer, Denise M.
Ryan, Marilyn E.
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Thesis (M.S.)
School of Nursing
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Nursing students have perceived stress associated with nursing education.The purpose of this descriptive correlational research was to determine if there is a relationship between lifestyle practices and stress among baccalaureate nursing students. The sample consisted of 72 junior and senior level baccalaureate nursing students, which was 69.9% of the 102 questionnaires distributed from three schools of nursing of mid-size universities in the midwest. The procedures for protection of human subjects were followed.Pender's Health Promotion Model (1996) served as the theoretical framework for this study. Healthy lifestyle was examined using Pender's Health Promotion Lifestyle Profile (HPLP). Perceived stress was measured by Cohen's Perceived Stress Scale (PSS).Findings included student's perceived stress some of the time. The mean for the PSS was 2.14. A healthy lifestyle was determined by a mean of 2.6 on the HPLP. The relationship between healthy lifestyle and perceived stress was significantly negatively correlated at a significant level (r=.4949, p=.001).The HPLP consisted of 6 subscales which measured specific components of a healthy lifestyle. Health responsibility was the first subscale. Overall, students reported never to sometimes seeking a healthcare professional to discuss health concerns or reporting unusual symptoms. Physical activity was subscale number two. Overall, one-fourth to one-third followed a planned exercise program with the same percentage reporting regular exercise. Nutrition was the third subscale. The majority of nursing students sometimes ate a healthy diet with an even larger amount never to sometimes limiting use of foods containing sugar. The fourth subscale was spiritual growth with over 40% feeling connected to some force greater than self Sub scale five was interpersonal relations. Responses to the interpersonal relations subscale indicated that students had support systems in place 80% of the time often to routinely. Stress Management was the sixth subscale of the HPLP. Almost 75% of the nursing students experienced stress and rarely participated in activities to reduce stress.Conclusions were that stress was obvious in nursing education. Stress can be reduced by components of a healthy lifestyle. Lifestyle is a controllable factor in life. Since nursing students are students of health., a healthy lifestyle should be practiced by nursing students. Eating a balanced diet, exercising, and participating in activities to reduce stress are some of the components of a healthy lifestyle.This study was significant because findings provided information about lifestyle and the relationship to perceived stress levels. Since high stress levels may reduce academic performance, and unhealthy lifestyles may increase stress, educational programs could be initiated to reduce stress and improve lifestyle behaviors. Support groups could be instituted to provide a way to support healthy lifestyle and ways to reduce stress.The study has implications for nursing students and nursing faculty. Implications include stress assessment of students and stress management education for students. Nursing faculty must educate students about possible causes of stress and provide ample ways to reduce stress by leading a healthier lifestyle. Nursing students and nursing faculty should lead a life of a health practitioner.