Review| Volume 30, ISSUE 1, P147-153, February 2023

Using affective events theory to conceptualise nurses’ emotional behaviour: A scoping review



      Affective Events Theory is a framework increasingly used in the organisational sciences to predict employee emotional reactions to workplace events and environments. However, this theory has been underutilised in the context of examining the behaviour of nurses.


      This review aimed to identify and describe how to apply Affective Events Theory to conceptualise nursing professionals’ emotional reactions and behaviours within patient care settings.

      Review methods

      The scoping review procedures were based on published recommendations, including searches in seven databases for sources meeting eligibility criteria and a protocol-driven approach for data screening, abstraction, and synthesis.


      Thirteen sources met inclusion criteria by using Affective Events Theory to conceptualise emotional responses and behaviours among nurses within patient care settings. Review sources discussed affective events in nursing settings, including work-related tasks and workplace violence/bullying. Nurses’ affective reactions to these events prompted worker attitudes and outcomes, including their intention to stay/leave, avoidance behaviours, accident-prone behaviours, and unethical actions.


      Affective Events Theory was reported as a sound approach for theorising in nursing settings. However, the low number of records identified may suggest that this theory has been scarcely applied in this context.


      Affective Events Theory has likely not been utilised in health sciences literature to the extent possible, representing a substantial opportunity for theorising regarding nursing professionals’ emotional reactions and behaviours. From a practical perspective, this review also potentially serves to support nurses as they seek to improve patient care and caregiver outcomes.


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