Violence at the workplace--a questionnaire survey of nurses

Eur Psychiatry. 2006 Oct;21(7):442-50. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2006.01.001. Epub 2006 Mar 10.


Background: In the health sector, anywhere in the world nurses are one of the most exposed groups to violence. However, it is not obvious that psychiatric nurses (PNs) are more exposed to aggression and burnout.

Objectives: To determine the nature and effects of aggressive acts towards nursing staff in psychiatric and other medical services in Poland.

Methods: Various questionnaires (Stress at Work Scale, General Health Questionnaire, Maslach Burnout Inventory, Work Satisfaction Scale), were distributed among psychiatric (N=78) and non-psychiatric nurses (N-PNs) (N=335). A 92.6% response rate was achieved.

Results: Significant differences were found between PNs and non-psychiatric counterparts with respect to their experiences of violence. The most frequently reported incident was verbal abuse, followed by threats and physical assault. Patients were significantly more frequent perpetrators in psychiatric wards than in others. The level of intra-staff aggression did not significantly vary between groups, neither did the level of work satisfaction and absenteeism.

Conclusion: The frequency of violent acts and stress related to them point out the strong need for the development of preventive programs to address the issue of violence at work.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adult
  • Aggression / psychology
  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology
  • Burnout, Professional / nursing
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Personality Inventory
  • Poland
  • Psychiatric Nursing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Violence / psychology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Workplace / psychology
  • Workplace / statistics & numerical data*