Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Adult Health Nursing

First Advisor

Mary Jo Grap


The study of stress is limited in professional nursing, but it is nearly non-existent in professional military nursing. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships among psychological, environmental, biological and demographic factors of stress in new Army nurses during the Army Medical Department’s 8-week Officer Basic Leadership Course (OBLC). Using a descriptive prospective, correlational repeated measures design, 33 study participants completed two psychological stress measures (Perceived Stress Scale [PSS] and the Impact of Event Scale – Revised[IES-R]), an environmental measure (Life Experiences Survey [LES]), a biologic measure (salivary cortisol) and a demographic questionnaire at three different time points during OBLC: at the beginning of OBLC, during the field training exercise and at the end of OBLC. The majority of participants were single, Caucasian females under 30 years of age with no RN experience and no deployment experience. No significant gender differences were detected among study variables. A simple (single-group) repeated measures analysis of the PSS scores, IES-R scores, and salivary cortisol was conducted using the LES score as a covariate. While the PSS scores and salivary cortisol levels did not change significantly over time, the IES-R score did change significantly over time (p = 0.001). The environmental factor (LES score) was not significant as a covariate in any of the three models. The unique baseline findings in this study may provide a springboard for further studies in stress particularly with military nurses who will eventually be deployed and experience a variety of stressful events. Longitudinal research could yield important predictive information related to how the stress response evolves over the course of one’s military career which may include frequent deployments to the combat zone.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

September 2009

Included in

Nursing Commons