Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Fred L. Adair


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of humor as a coping mechanism to relieve work stress of psychiatric registered nurses (RNs).;The population was selected from 31 volunteer RNs who worked thirty-two to forty hours a week in psychiatric hospitals in the Norfolk-Tidewater-Williamsburg-Richmond areas of Virginia. The RNs completed three pretest self-report measurements on stress. The Social Readiness Rating Scale (SRRS) was given to assess preexisting life stress. The Work Environment Scale (WES), and the Psychiatric Nurses' Occupational Stress Scales (PNOSS) were given to measure for pre-treatment work stress.;The RNs were then randomly assigned to one of three workshop groups. The treatment groups had workshops on the use of humor or an alternative coping skill (progressive relaxation) to relieve environmental stress. The control group workshop was on the use of neurological assessment. Each workshop lasted three hours. The first segment taught the basic theory and introduced the skill. The second segment taught the RNs how to use what they learned. The third segment allowed the RNs to practice their new tool. All RNs in all the groups were encouraged to practice their new skills within the hospital environment. The progressive relaxation RNs had a relaxation tape and tape recorder available to use on breaks.;Six weeks after the workshops, the RNs were mailed a packet containing a certificate stating they attended the workshop and two self-report measurements on the WES and PNOSS which were completed and returned to the researcher.;The pretest and posttest measurements were scored by hand. Descriptive statistics were used to measure the central tendency or average and the amount of dispersion or spread. The hypotheses were analyzed by one-way analysis of covariance.;The findings were not significant to the p {dollar}>{dollar} =.05 confidence level. With the particular sample population and the groups, it was concluded that the treatment was not successful in reducing work stress or occupational stress or in changing attitudes in the workplace. However, the study indicates that with a greater sample size and more specificity concerning what work stress is to be measured, significant findings are possible.



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