Morale is high in acute inpatient psychiatry

  • Len Bowers
  • Teresa Allan
  • Alan Simpson
  • Julia Jones
  • Richard Whittington



Morale on acute psychiatric wards has been considered to be problematic, and is reported to contribute to low quality patient care. Aim: To assess the relationship of staff morale to patient, service environment, physical environment, patient routines, conflict, containment, staff demographics, and staff group variables.


A multivariate cross sectional study was undertaken collecting data on morale, as measured by the Maslach Burnout Inventory, and other variables on 136 acute admission psychiatric wards in England.


Morale was higher than published comparison samples. Length of time in post was correlated with low morale, and qualified nurses had higher emotional exhaustion but also higher personal accomplishment. The level of verbal abuse on a ward was associated with low morale, as was a higher level of social deprivation among patients. Higher levels of order and organisation correlated with better morale.


Clear policies relating to the management of verbal abuse by patients, high levels of order and organisation, and staff rotation and education, may all support high morale. Acute inpatient psychiatry is generally a happy and rewarding work environment, and identified problems are likely to be due to other factors.


in-patient morale verbal aggression social deprivation demography 



The data collection on which this paper is based was funded by NIHR SDO, however the views expressed are those of the authors, not the funders.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Len Bowers
    • 1
  • Teresa Allan
    • 1
  • Alan Simpson
    • 1
  • Julia Jones
    • 1
  • Richard Whittington
    • 2
  1. 1.St Bartholomew School of Nursing and MidwiferyCity UniversityLondonUK
  2. 2.Health and Community Care Research UnitUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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