The combined effect of psychological and social capital in registered nurses experiencing second victimization: A structural equation model

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of nursing scholarship : an official publication of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing








administration/management/leadership/organization; care delivery system; professional issues/professional ethics/professional standards; social support/support networks/social environment; work environment/working conditions


PURPOSE: This study examined the combined role psychological capital and social capital play in the severity of second victim syndrome experienced by registered nurses. DESIGN: This research study was an ex post facto, cross-sectional, non-experimental survey design. Data were collected from October to December 2018. The study sample was composed of 1167 nurses recruited through 12 professional nursing associations in the United States. METHODS: Self-report questionnaires were administered to measure psychological capital (Psychological Capital Questionnaire), social capital (Social Capital Outcomes for Nurses) and second victim syndrome (Second Victim Experience and Support Tool). Data cleaning and analysis of 1167 cases were conducted via SPSS v25 and structural equation modeling of 999 cases was conducted with AMOS v25. FINDINGS: The SEM analysis demonstrated that psychological capital, on its own, had no effect on the severity of the second victim experience. Social capital, on its own, had a statistically significant relationship with second victim severity. The combined impact of social capital and psychological capital had a statistically significant effect on second victim severity. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study have practical implications that include unit-based peer support programs and an increased focus on supportive workplace cultures. Programmatic efforts should also focus on social capital at the team level as well as the importance of building self-efficacy through increasing mastery experiences, modeling of behavior, social persuasion and monitoring one's physiological responses. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: These findings demonstrate the importance of social capital to mitigation of second victim experiences, while also demonstrating that psychological capital has no effect on second victim severity. Building social capital and collective efficacy are critical to mitigation of second victim syndrome.


Clinical Research and Leadership