Psychosocial Factors Associated With Alcohol Use Among Nurses: An Integrative Review

Maile Mercer, Amy Witkoski Stimpfel, Victoria Vaughan Dickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Understanding alcohol use among nurses may inform interventions related to the coping mechanisms nurses use for workplace stress and trauma. Alcohol use can be caused by a variety of factors and has serious implications on a nurse's personal health and professional practice. Understanding psychosocial factors and preventive measures may assist in the development of interventions to improve coping mechanisms and reduce the incidence of alcohol misuse. Purpose: To review the psychosocial factors and preventive measures associated with alcohol use among nurses. Methods: For this integrative review, systematic searches were conducted in CINAHL, PubMed, PsychNet, and ProQuest Central. Included studies were peer-reviewed and addressed alcohol use among nurses in the United States. Articles were appraised using methods-specific tools indicated by the Whittemore and Knafl framework. Data were extracted and themes identified using constant comparison. Results: Of 6,214 nonduplicate articles screened, 78 were selected for full-text review and 13 were included after application of inclusion criteria. Synthesis resulted in four themes: (1) occupational stress and trauma, (2) workplace characteristics, (3) mental health implications, and (4) protective factors. The data show that workplace stress and trauma contribute to alcohol use among nurses. Night shifts, rotating shifts, and shift length are factors related to alcohol use, as are mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and suicide. Protective factors that reduce alcohol use among nurses include faith, resilience, and perceived organizational support. Conclusion: Alcohol use among nurses presents challenges for the nursing profession and regulatory bodies with specific and interrelated phenomena related to the role and identity of nurses. A better understanding of these factors through research will facilitate a healthier nursing workforce that is better prepared to take on the rewards and challenges of a nursing career.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-20
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Nursing Regulation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Nurses
  • alcohol
  • occupational
  • stress
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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