Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Dr. Patricia B. Howard

Clinical Mentor

Dr. Chizimuzo Okoli

Committee Member

Dr. Peggy El-Mallakh



Behavioral health problems impact approximately 19% of the United States population and nurses are not exempt from these experiences. In fact, nurses may be at higher risk for developing a behavioral health issue than the general public. The purpose of this study was to identify specific demographic, work-related, and behavioral variables associated with substance use and personal experience with any mental and or behavioral health problems among nurses in an academic healthcare system. Being female, younger in age, higher level of education and increased use of alcohol were risk factors associated with self-reported experience with behavioral health problems. Additionally, identifying as non-heterosexual and a perception of increased exposure to secondhand smoke were significantly associated with self-reported experience with behavioral health problems. The findings of this study suggest that nurses may be at greater risk for behavioral health problems and certain variables may increase their risk. In addition, more attention and research in the U.S. needs to be focused on this subject, as well as, developing and implementing targeted interventions and programs specific for the nursing workforce to promote their behavioral health and well-being.