Mental health and intentions to quit among nurses in Iran during COVID-19 Pandemic: A social identity approach

Cakal H., Keshavarzi S., Ruhani A., Dakhil-Abbasi G., Ünver H.

Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, vol.33, no.3, pp.690-707, 2023 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 33 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/casp.2666
  • Journal Name: Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, ASSIA, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, PASCAL, CINAHL, Criminal Justice Abstracts, Educational research abstracts (ERA), Psycinfo, Public Affairs Index, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.690-707
  • Keywords: COVID-19, depressive symptoms, emotions, group identity, intentions to quit
  • Ankara Haci Bayram Veli University Affiliated: No


The positive effects of social identification on mental health are well documented in the literature. However, most of this research has been conducted among small groups in WEIRD (Western Educated Industrialized Rich and Democratic Henrich, Heine, & Norenzayan, 2010, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33, 61) settings. Understanding how social identity as a psychological source can improve resilience and welfare among frontline healthcare workers in non-WEIRD contexts can help to alleviate the negative impact of large-scale epidemics overall, especially in resource-poor settings and contribute towards improved welfare of key healthcare workers. The present research investigates whether identifying as a nurse could influence mental health and intentions to quit directly and indirectly via positive and negative emotions among a unique sample of Iranian nurses (N = 462) during a risky period, the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple regression results showed that identifying as a nurse was negatively associated with negative emotions which in turn were positively related to depressive symptoms. In a similar vein, identifying as a nurse was positively associated with positive emotions which, in turn, were negatively related to intentions to quit. Results also confirmed that risk perceptions related to COVID-19 positively moderated the effect of social identification on negative emotions only. That is, identification as a nurse was associated with reduced negative emotions only when perceived risk was low. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of the findings.