Salivary cortisol, perceived stress and coping strategies: A comparative study of working and nonworking women

Wegdan Bani-Issa, Hadia Radwan, Arwa Al Shujairi, Heba Hijazi, Rabah M. Al Abdi, Shamsa Al Awar, Roba Saqan, Mohamad Alameddine, Ali Ibrahim, Hanif Abdul Rahman, Lin Naing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Aims: This study investigated stress levels and coping strategies among working and nonworking women in the United Arab Emirates. Background: Stress levels in working and nonworking women have previously been studied, but few studies used cortisol to measure stress or examined how coping strategies affect stress levels. Methods: We employed a cross-sectional design with a convenience sample of women aged 20–65 years. Information on women's sociodemographic characteristics, perceived stress (using the Perceived Stress Scale) and coping strategies (using the Brief-COPE) was collected. Participants' morning (07:00–08:00) and evening (19:00–20:00) cortisol levels were measured using unstimulated saliva samples. Results: In total, 417 working and 403 nonworking women participated in this study. More nonworking women reported high stress levels than working women (14.1% vs. 4.1%, p =.001). Working women reported more use of informational support and venting to cope with stress compared with nonworking women (94.0% vs. 88.1%, p =.001). More nonworking women had impaired morning (<0.094 mg/dl) and evening (>0.359 mg/dl) cortisol compared with working women (58.1% vs. 28.5% and 41.7% vs. 18.0%, respectively). Compared with working women, nonworking women had 3.25 (95%CI: 2.38, 4.47) and 3.78 (95%CI: 2.65, 5.43) times the odds of impaired morning and evening cortisol, respectively. Conclusion: Nonworking women exhibited higher levels of stress than working women. There is an urgent need to support nonworking women to manage stress through appropriate awareness campaigns and public health policies. Implications for Management: Policymakers and community leaders should consider the mental health of nonworking women as a priority in planning public health policies and programmes. Nurse managers must have a voice in reforming public health policy to support early assessment and management of stress among nonworking women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3553-3567
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Nursing Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • evening cortisol
  • mental health screening
  • morning cortisol
  • nonworking women-coping strategies
  • perceived stress
  • working women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management


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