Trait Anxiety and Hardiness Among Junior Baccalaureate Nursing Students Living in a Stressful Environment
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Session presented on Thursday, July 21, 2016: Purpose: The purpose of this presentation is to examine two personality characteristics, hardiness and trait anxiety, among junior baccalaureate nursing students living and studying in a stressful environment, with the aim of supporting them in their ability to cope effectively. Methods: This research was conducted at Ashkelon Academic College, Israel. Ashkelon, a city located in South Western Israel (population of 140,000) has been a constant target of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip (distance 14 km), most intensively during 2014, causing damage to property and human life. Approximately 70% of the students live in or around the city. The sample consisted of 95 1st and 2nd year nursing students who had not as yet begun their clinical experiences. Data were collected through a 3 part structured questionnaire: The Hardiness Questionnaire (Kobasa, 1979), Trait Anxiety Questionnaire (Spilberger, 197) and demographic data (age, sex, army service, country of birth, family status, current place of residence). Results: The mean score of the total sample for personality hardiness was 4.31 (a maximum score of 6). The mean score of the total sample for trait anxiety was 1.76 (maximum score of 4). Of all the demographic characteristics, only place of residence was found correlated with hardiness. Students who lived closer to the border had a lower hardiness score. A significant adverse relationship was found between trait anxiety and hardiness. Student nurses with a higher score of trait anxiety scored lower in hardiness. Conclusion: The findings of stress research have suggested that stressful life events influence the average person's normal routine. The repeated exposure to stressful environments and the available repertoire of copying mechanisms may influence our personal resources and sometimes harm effective coping responses and ability to function to the full extents of our education and training. The mean score of personality hardiness for the total sample was found above the average. In spite of the exposure to intermittent but repeated life-threatening events for a prolonged period, students tried to cope effectively. Our responsibility as nurse educators to identify perceived stressful situations among students, often not correlated with their studies, and ensuring a safe environment, as much as possible in order to function effectively in their work environment will be discussed.