DOI: 10.3390/healthcare12010084 ISSN: 2227-9032

Assessment of the Frequency, Causes, Degree and Consequences of Violence against Health Workers in Psychiatric Institutions

Zoran Jovanovic, Ana Opankovic, Srdjan Milovanovic, Jasmina Barisic, Tamara Nikolic Turnic, Dusan Djuric
  • Health Information Management
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy
  • Leadership and Management

(1) Background: The prevalence of workplace violence within the health sector varies between 50 and 88%. Depending on the health care environment, the percentages mentioned can be much higher. (2) The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence, characteristics, factors, and consequences of violence against healthcare workers (physicians, nurses, and technicians) in psychiatric institutions in the Republic of Serbia. Additionally, this study should validate the Serbian version of the aggression questionnaire, which could be a significant tool in recognizing and assessing any type of violence against health care workers in psychiatric institutions. (3) Methods: This study was designed as an observational questionnaire study that included 191 health workers (physicians, medical technicians, workers in kitchens or maintenance, and others) from three psychiatric institutions. As an instrument, this study validated and used the Serbian version of the aggression standardized questionnaire. We observed the primary and secondary outcomes of potential violence in psychiatric institutions against healthcare workers using different parameters. (4) Results: The internal consistency of each item as well as the instrument was very good (the mean Cronbach alfa = 0.91). A total of 104 of the participants never experienced physical violence, while more than five times that had 20 health workers (10.5%). We observed the statistical significance of gender, age, working status (permanent/limited) and professional status (physician/medical technician/worker etc.) on physical attack incidence. (5) Conclusions: The incidence of violence against healthcare workers is very high, especially in terms of physical assault and threats in the workplace. The majority of the victims were women who work as medical technicians, attacked by male patients with unknown motivation. A number of changes in the structure and organizational culture of the hospital are required. All hospital employees, employers, patients, and their families share responsibility for the creation of a safe workplace.

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