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.