Nurses exposed to high nursing stress report no health complaints as long as they have high coping abilities. The purpose of this study was to investigate coping styles in relation to the health status and work environment of Norwegian and Dutch hospital nurses. This comparative study included a random sample of 5400 Norwegian nurses and a convenience sample of 588 Dutch nurses. Coping, health, and work environment were assessed by questionnaire in both samples and associations were investigated bivariately and multivariately. We found that active problem-solving coping was associated with the health and work environment of Norwegian nurses but not with the health and work environment of Dutch. Passive coping (avoiding problems or waiting to see what happens) was found to relate to poor general health, poor mental health, low job control, and low job support in both Norwegian and Dutch nurses. Improvements in the nursing work environment may not only result in better mental health, but may also reduce passive coping
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