Stress-related biobehavioral profile of senior nursing students
Journal of Nursing Education and Practice
Objective: The purpose of the study was to determine the levels of psychosocial (stress, moods, and loneliness) and salivary biomarker responses (cortisol, alpha-amylase, C-reactive protein, Interleukin-1β, estradiol, and testosterone) and their associations in senior nursing students. Because of diversity in student characteristics, we also examined group differences by age, prior degree status, and curricular tracks. Methods: In a cross-sectional study, 77 graduating baccalaureate nursing
... ents completed questionnaires and provided a saliva sample via passive drool during fall semester, 2013. All data were collected between 8:00 am and noon. Biomarker levels were assessed with enzyme-linked immunoassays, and biological data were transformed prior to data analyses as needed. Results: On average, psychosocial and biological responses seem to be within normal ranges. One third of students, however, showed moderately high or high levels of stress. Stress was significantly and inversely correlated with estradiol, r = -.25, p < .04, and alpha amylase, r = -.31, p < .007. Anger and confusion were significantly and positively correlated with testosterone, r = .24 to .27, p < .05. Despite the diversity, there were no significant psychosocial or biological differences between groups. Conclusions: Although average psychosocial and biological responses seem unremarkable, a subset of students showed relatively high levels of stress. Several psychosocial factors were significantly correlated with biological responses, suggesting biobehavioral interactions to influence the health. Regular stress assessment and campus resources may facilitate early stress management to minimize potential long-term adverse health outcomes.