Workplace violence and influencing factors among medical professionals in China

Am J Ind Med. 2012 Nov;55(11):1000-8. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22097. Epub 2012 Aug 6.


Background: Workplace violence has attracted increasing public attention over the past few decades in China. This study was conducted to evaluate the frequency of workplace violence in healthcare settings by various job titles and hospital departments, and to explore the related risk factors among Chinese medical professionals.

Methods: A total of 2,464 medical professionals in 12 hospitals of two provinces were surveyed by using a stratified cluster sampling method. The Chinese version of the Workplace Violence Scale was used to measure the frequencies of workplace violence, classified as physical assault, emotional abuse, threat of assault, verbal sexual harassment and sexual assault experienced by the subjects over the previous 12 months. A structured questionnaire was administered to collect information on potentially influencing factors for workplace violence. Multivariate analysis was applied to determine the risk factors for workplace violence.

Results: About 50% of study subjects reported at least one type of workplace violence. The rates of experiencing two episodes or more of physical assault, emotional abuse, threat of assault, verbal sexual harassment, and sexual assault were 11%, 26%, 12%, 3%, and 1%, respectively. Identified risk factors for workplace violence included working in the departments of psychiatry, emergency, pediatrics and surgery, male gender, divorce/widowed status, long working hours (≥10 hr/day), and night shift.

Conclusions: The study suggested that workplace violence occurs commonly in Chinese healthcare settings. Effective intervention strategies targeting workplace violence should be formulated in terms of major risk factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Violence / psychology*
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data
  • Workplace / psychology
  • Workplace / statistics & numerical data