Does workplace violence exist in primary health care? Evidence from Serbia

Eur J Public Health. 2015 Aug;25(4):693-8. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/cku247. Epub 2015 Feb 1.


Background: Violence in the workplace is a serious social and public health problem. The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of workplace violence and to identify potential predictors of workplace violence at Serbian Primary Health Care (PHC) centres.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted between October 2012 and July 2013. The sample consisted of medical and non-medical staff employed at PHC centres in Belgrade, Serbia. Among 1757 currently presented at work, 1526 returned the questionnaires. The data were collected by questionnaire Workplace Violence in the Health Sector-Country Case Studies, developed by the ILO/ICN/WHO/PSI. Binary logistic regression was conducted to assess the association between exposure to workplace violence and sociodemographic and work-related characteristics.

Results: The prevalence of workplace violence, was 803 (52.6%), with 147 (18.3%), exposed to physical violence. Multiple logistic regression models indicated that the following work-related characteristics were positive associated of workplace violence with working between 18:00 and 07:00 h [odds ratio (OR): 1.37, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.08-1.73], nurses as a professional group (OR: 1.91, 95% CI: 1.16-3.17), working with preschool children (OR: 0.56, 95% CI: 0.34-0.91). There was negative association of workplace violence with encouragement to report violence (OR: 0.61, 95% CI: 0.49-0.76) and the number of staff in the same work setting (OR: 0.73, 95% CI: 0.56-0.96).

Conclusions: More than half of employees in Belgrade PHC centres were exposed to different types of workplace violence. There is a need for interventions to protect health workers and provide safer workplace environments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Health
  • Odds Ratio
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling
  • Prevalence
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Serbia / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Workplace Violence / statistics & numerical data*