Precipitants of psychiatric patient assaults on staff: three-year empirical inquiry of the Assaulted Staff Action Program (ASAP)

Int J Emerg Ment Health. 2006 Winter;8(1):15-22.


Patient violence toward health care staff is a complex function of person x event x environment model. Thirty-five years of research on the characteristics of patient assailants and staff victims has yielded no predictive markers and researchers are examining other possible components of the model. The precipitants, or motivation, for assaults is one area of inquiry. Although research to date has been sparse, acute psychosis, excessive sensory stimulation, and staff restrictions on patient behaviors (denial of services, privileges, etc.) appear to be common precipitants. This paper continued this inquiry over a three-year period. The most common precipitants were denial of services, acute psychosis, and excessive stimulation. No statistically significant interactions were obtained for patient / staff victim variables and these precipitants.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Female
  • Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Program Development*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Violence*