A national survey of the nurses' mental health — the case of Portugal

Paulo Rosário Carvalho Seabra*, Joaquim Manuel de Oliveira Lopes, Mariana Esteves Calado, Manuel Luís Capelas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To understand Portuguese nurses' perceptions of their mental health. Background: The impact of nurses' health and well-being on the quality and safety of the care they provide is well known. In Portugal, there are no representative studies regarding nurses' mental health. Materials and Methods: Transversal, analytical, and observational methods were used, with a quantitative approach. Participants answered questions through an online form. We collected data concerning social-professional characterization, general health status, and mental health. The General Health Questionnaire-28 (GHQ-28) was used. Results: A total of 1264 nurses participated in a nonrandomized sample. Two-thirds revealed a negative perception of their mental health. Of these, 22.2% reported severe depression symptoms, 71.6% indicated significant somatic symptoms, 76% showed significant anxiety, and 94.1% presented some kind of social dysfunction. Conclusion: Better mental health is associated with being part of a larger household, enjoying more hours of sleep, having more free weekends, being male, working as a specialist, and engaging in leisure activities. Worse mental health is associated with being older, having a longer career, working more hours, and practicing in the hospital context. Implications for nursing practice: The professionals' living and working conditions must be addressed by their managers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-433
Number of pages9
JournalNursing Forum
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Health perception
  • Healthcare survey
  • Nurses' mental health


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