Characteristics of violent behavior in a large state psychiatric hospital

Psychiatr Serv. 2004 Feb;55(2):183-5. doi: 10.1176/


Violent behavior is a significant problem in psychiatric hospitals. The authors reviewed hospital incident reports to identify the characteristics of violent behavior in a large state psychiatric hospital. They found that a very small percentage of patients accounted for a majority of violent episodes, that rates of violent behavior varied among hospital units, that assaultive behavior was more common than self-harm in the long-term units, and that most commonly the assault victims were other patients. The data support earlier studies demonstrating that a small number of patients are responsible for a majority of violent episodes in a hospital setting.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders*
  • North Carolina
  • Risk Management / statistics & numerical data
  • Violence / psychology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*