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Risk factors for work related violence in a health care organization
  1. M J Findorff1,
  2. P M McGovern1,
  3. M Wall2,
  4. S G Gerberich1,
  5. B Alexander1
  1. 1Division of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Minnesota, School of Public Health, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  2. 2Division of Biostatistics, University of Minnesota, School of Public Health, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Mary Findorff
 University of Minnesota, School of Public Health, Mayo Mail Code 807, 420 Delaware St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA;


Objective: Identify the exposure effects of job family, patient contact, and supervisor support on physical and non-physical work related violence.

Design: Cross sectional study of employees in a Midwest health care organization, utilizing a specially designed mailed questionnaire and employer secondary data.

Subjects: Respondents included 1751 current and former employees (42% response rate).

Results: Physical and non-physical violence was experienced by 127 (7.2%) and 536 (30.6%) of the respondents, respectively. Multivariate analyses of physical violence identified increased odds for patient care assistants (odds ratio (OR) 2.5, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1. 1 to 6.1) and decreased odds for clerical workers (OR 0.1, 95% CI 0.03 to 0.5). Adjusted for job family, increased odds of physical violence were identified for moderate (OR 5.9, 95% CI 2.1 to 16.0) and high (OR 7.8, 95% CI 2.9 to 20.8) patient contact. Similar trends were identified for non-physical violence (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.1 to 2.0 and OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.3 to 2.3). Increased supervisor support decreased the odds of both physical (OR 0.7, 95% CI 0.6 to 0.95) and non-physical violence (OR 0.5, 95% CI 0.4 to 0.6), adjusting for job family and demographic characteristics.

Conclusions: Increased odds of physical violence were identified for the job family of nurses, even when adjusted for patient contact. Increased patient contact resulted in increased physical and non-physical violence, independent of job family, while supervisor support resulted in decreased odds of physical and non-physical violence.

  • CI, confidence interval
  • FTE, full time equivalent
  • OR, odds ratio
  • OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • work related violence
  • occupationally related injuries
  • assault
  • patient contact

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