Resilience and mental health nursing: An integrative review of international literature

Kim Foster, Michael Roche, Cynthia Delgado, Celeste Cuzzillo, Jo Ann Giandinoto, Trentham Furness

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)


Mental health nurses work in challenging and potentially high stress settings. Stressors can occur in the context of consumer, family, and/or staff relationships, as well as the work environment and organization. The cumulative effects of stress and professional challenges can lead to harmful impacts for mental health nurses including burnout and poorer physical and mental health. Resilience involves a process of positive adaptation to stress and adversity. The aims of this integrative review were to examine understandings and perspectives on resilience, and explore and synthesize the state of knowledge on resilience in mental health nursing. Following systematic search processes, screening, and data extraction, 12 articles were included. Constant comparative analysis and synthesis of the data resulted in two key categories: Theoretical concepts of resilience and Knowledge on mental health nurses’ resilience. In mental health nursing, resilience has been variously constructed as an individual ability, collective capacity, or as an interactive person–environment process. Resilience was most often reported as low-moderate, with positive correlations with hardiness, self-esteem, life and job satisfaction, and negative correlations with depression and burnout. A resilience programme improved mental health nurses’ coping self-efficacy and capacity to regulate thoughts and emotions and developed their resilient practice. Use of contemporary resilience definitions will inform more consistent investigation and progressively scaffold knowledge of this emergent construct in mental health nursing. Future research on the implementation of resilience programmes and resilience-building strategies for mental health nurses at the individual, work unit, and organizational levels is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-85
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


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