Assaults on psychiatrists by patients

Am J Psychiatry. 1976 Apr;133(4):422-5. doi: 10.1176/ajp.133.4.422.


The authors describe the results of a survey of 115 psychiatrists regarding assaults by patients. Forty-eight psychiatrists stated that they had been assaulted; a total of 68 assaults was reported. Psychiatrists were most often assaulted in the early stages of their career or while they were working in high-risk settings such as prisons or emergency rooms. Many reported retrospectively that they might have had a role in provoking the assault and that they could have anticipated it. The authors believe that psychiatrists avoid dealing with the issue of violence by patients for a variety of reasons, and they recommend that clinicians learn techniques for managing potentially assaultive patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aggression*
  • Agonistic Behavior*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders* / therapy
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Prisons
  • Psychiatry*
  • Violence