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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Factors and symptoms associated with work stress and health-promoting lifestyles among hospital staff: a pilot study in Taiwan

Yueh-Chi Tsai12 and Chieh-Hsing Liu2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Family Medicine, Mackay Memorial Hospital, Taipei City, Taiwan, 10449, Republic of China

2 Department of Health Promotion and Health Education, National Taiwan Normal University, No. 162, Ho-Ping E. Road, Sec 1, Taipei, Taiwan, 106, Republic of China

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BMC Health Services Research 2012, 12:199  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-199

Published: 16 July 2012



Healthcare workers including physicians, nurses, medical technicians and administrative staff experience high levels of occupational stress as a result of heavy workloads, extended working hours and time-related pressure. The aims of this study were to investigate factors associated with work stress among hospital staff members and to evaluate their health-promoting lifestyle behaviors.


We conducted a cross-sectional study from May 1, 2010 to July 30, 2010 and recruited 775 professional staff from two regional hospitals in Taiwan using purposive sampling. Demographic data and self-reported symptoms related to work-related stress were collected. Each subject completed the Chinese versions of the Job Content Questionnaire (C-JCQ) and The Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile (HPLSP). Linear and binary regression analyses were applied to identify associations between these two measurements and subjects’ characteristics, and associations between the two measurements and stress symptoms.


Self-reported symptoms of work-related stress included 64.4% of subjects reporting nervousness, 33.7% nightmares, 44.1% irritability, 40.8% headaches, 35.0% insomnia, and 41.4% gastrointestinal upset. C-JCQ scores for psychological demands of the job and discretion to utilize skills had a positive correlation with stress-related symptoms; however, the C-JCQ scores for decision-making authority and social support correlated negatively with stress-related symptoms except for nightmares and irritability. All items on the HPLSP correlated negatively with stress-related symptoms except for irritability, indicating an association between subjects’ symptoms and a poor quality of health-promoting lifestyle behaviors.


We found that high demands, little decision-making authority, and low levels of social support were associated with the development of stress-related symptoms. The results also suggested that better performance on or a higher frequency of health-promoting life-style behaviors might reduce the chances of hospital staff developing stress-related symptoms. Our report may contribute to the development of educational programs designed to encourage members of high stress groups among the hospital staff to increase their health-promoting behaviors.

Healthcare workers; Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile (HPLSP); Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ); Occupational stress