Journal article
The nature, extent and determinants of violence against psychiatric personnel

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Publication Details
Author list: Soares, Joaquim
Publication year: 2000
Start page: 105-120
ISSN: 0267-8373


Violence against psychiatric staff seems to be on the increase. Such abuse can lead to mental health consequences for the staff and a reluctance to be closely involved with patients. Few Swedish investigations have examined violence against mental nurses and psychiatrists, or undertaken comparative studies between them. In this study we examined the extent, nature and determinants (i.e. risk factors) of violence against psychiatric nurses (n = 731) and psychiatrists (n = 320) working in the eight health care districts of Stockholm. These caregivers were assessed cross-sectionally by means of a questionnaire covering various areas (e.g. violence and work environment). The majority of the participants (85%) reported having been exposed to violence during their careers, with 57% being victimized in the past 12 months. Physical violence was common, and factors such as negative attitudes to work and diminished sense of autonomy were associated with an increased vulnerability to violence. Nurses and psychiatrists did not differ in violence variables. In spite of the weaknesses of the design (cross-sectional self-selecting sample), this study corroborates previous findings and identifies personal factors associated with violence that have received little attention in the literature (e.g. lack of respect for the organization of care).

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