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The relationships between nurses' emotional intelligence, attachment style, burnout, compassion and stigma

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Sophie Valavanis
Publication date2019
Number of pages251
Awarding Institution
Award date24/10/2019
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This thesis included two main papers; a systematic literature review and a crosssectional research paper. The literature review aimed to synthesise the findings of quantitative research into the relationship between emotional intelligence (EI) and burnout in nursing staff. The research paper aimed to explore the relationships between EI, attachment style, compassion satisfaction/fatigue and mental health stigma in nurses. Burnout and mental health stigma have been noted in nursing staff, which is of concern as both phenomena have been linked to negative outcomes.

Four electronic databases were systematically searched and a total of 17 papers were included in the review. Papers were quality appraised, and their findings were synthesised. The results highlighted negative correlations between EI and burnout, and EI was found to act as a significant negative predictor of burnout.

A final sample of 225 student and qualified nurses were included in the research
paper. Following completion of measures of EI, attachment style and compassion fatigue, participants were presented with a vignette about a service-user with either a diagnosis of schizophrenia or asthma. They were then asked to complete a measure of stigma in relation to the service-user they had just read about. T-tests, correlations, mediation and moderation analyses were conducted. No significant differences in stigma scores were found between the
two vignette groups. However, various other between-group differences were identified, and significant correlations were found. Intrapersonal EI was also found to mediate the relationship between avoidant attachment style and compassion satisfaction, and anxious attachment style and compassion fatigue.

Both papers highlighted the potential benefit of EI training and the importance of
clinical supervision for nurses. This recommendation was critically appraised in the third section of the thesis, in relation to the current economic and political context. As such, the role of clinical psychologists in this field was explored.