Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School


Committee Member

Lorraine M. Wilson, RN, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Susan K. Pfoutz, RN, PhD


The purpose of this study was to describe perceived occupational stressors, coping strategies, and burnout levels of psychiatric nurses working on locked psychiatric units in southeastern Michigan (N = 46), as well as to examine the relationships among demographic factors and these variables. This study utilized a correlation design, adapting the stress, coping, and burnout theoretical frameworks of Seyle, Lazarus, Folkman, and Maslach.

The results indicated that the majority of psychiatric nurses in this study were experiencing low levels of stress and moderate levels of burnout. The findings suggested that staffing issues were an important factor in determining stress levels, and activities outside of work were preferred as methods of coping. Because the majority of research in the area of psychiatric nursing has been conducted outside of the United States, this research provides a baseline from which to address the problem of stress among psychiatric nurses working on locked psychiatric units.