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Journal of Nursing Administration:
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000000052

An Exploration of Relational Aggression in the Nursing Workplace

Dellasega, Cheryl PhD, CRNP; Volpe, Rebecca L. PhD; Edmonson, Cole DNP, RN, FACHE, NEA-BC; Hopkins, Margaret MA, MEd

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OBJECTIVE: This study provides a 1st look at relational aggression (RA) and the consequences among nurses.

BACKGROUND: Interpersonal hostility, bullying, and a toxic work environment (WE) can impact patient care delivery as well as nurses’ personal health and job satisfaction.

METHODS: The Relational Aggression Assessment Scale, measuring aggressors, victims, and bystanders, was used to measure RA in a sample of 842 nurses. Additional variables measured included a demographic profile, job satisfaction, and intent to leave.

RESULTS: Nurses were most likely to identify with victim behaviors, but a minority of nurses reported relying on aggressor behaviors and bystander behaviors. There was a positive correlation among aggressor, victim, and bystander items, suggesting overlap in roles.

CONCLUSIONS: A few relationally aggressive individuals can create a toxic WE. Interventions to address RA among nurses must be tested, as well as strategies for improving job satisfaction and promoting healthy WEs through positive relationships.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins



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