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Journal Article


Nijman H, Bowers L, Oud N, Jansen G. Aggressive Behav. 2005; 31(3): 217-227.


(Copyright © 2005, International Society for Research on Aggression, Publisher John Wiley and Sons)






Using a survey instrument, the experiences of psychiatric nurses with inpatient aggression were investigated in East London, U.K. On this "Perceptions of Prevalence Of Aggression Scale" (POPAS), annual experiences with 15 types of disruptive and aggressive behavior were rated anonymously. Staff members were also asked to disclose the number of days missed from work due to inpatient violence. On the basis of these POPAS forms, internal consistency of the instrument, mean reported aggression frequencies, and days missed from work due to violence were calculated. Internal consistency of the POPAS appeared to be reasonable. Verbal abuse and threats were experienced by most of the psychiatric nurses during a one-year period (i.e., by about 80-90 percent of nurses). Sexual harassment or intimidation was also experienced relatively often on an annual basis (68 percent), particularly by female and young staff members. A minority of staff members (i.e., 16 percent) had experienced severe physical violence. Although not prevalent, this type of behavior was most strongly connected with reporting sick. In particular, staff members working with involuntarily admitted patients experienced much (severe) violence during their work. Although the validity of estimates of aggression prevalence with the POPAS instrument needs to be investigated further, such a survey may be helpful in gaining insight rather quickly into the level of day-to-day contact with aggressive behavior. Also, since information on verbal, physical, and sexual violence, and on days missed from work, can be provided anonymously, this rather delicate, but essential management information, may be accessed relatively easily with the POPAS.


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