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Perceptions of workplace violence in psychiatric settings: Does gender play a role?

Mary Akiko Hatch-Maillette, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Limited data exist on the incidence and nature of workplace violence in psychiatric settings according to gender. This study examined whether different types of threatening incidents with patients (physical, verbal, sexual, or posturing) were salient to male vs. female staff members across a range of psychiatric settings (inpatient forensic, inpatient acute psychiatric, inpatient chronic psychiatric, and outpatient psychiatric). Whether staff gender, type of patient's violence history, and type of threatening patient behavior impacted staff's judgments of their personal safety was investigated via a descriptive task and written vignettes in a within-subjects 2 x 2 x 4 factorial design. The relationships between threat perceived, gender roles, and sex role attitudes were also explored using the PAQ, ASI, and AMI. Data indicated that although female staff disproportionately experienced sexualized threats, they were not more likely to report such incidents as salient and threatening. Results also showed that (a) male staff viewed all threat situations as significantly less threatening than female staff, (b) disorganized and physical threats were the most disturbing types of incidents (over sexual and verbal threat situations), and (c) patients with a history of general violence were seen as more threatening than those with a history of victimizing women. Results were discussed in the context of employee and employer training and education on improving staff safety and work environment. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Mental Health|Health Sciences, Occupational Health and Safety|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Hatch-Maillette, Mary Akiko, "Perceptions of workplace violence in psychiatric settings: Does gender play a role?" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3055274.