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Organizational Determinants of Workplace Violence Against Hospital Workers

Arnetz, Judith PhD, MPH, PT; Hamblin, Lydia E. PhD; Sudan, Sukhesh MPH; Arnetz, Bengt MD, PhD, MScEpi

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: August 2018 - Volume 60 - Issue 8 - p 693–699
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001345

Objective: To identify organizational factors contributing to workplace violence in hospitals.

Methods: A questionnaire survey was conducted in 2013 among employees in a Midwestern hospital system (n = 446 respondents). Questions concerned employees’ experiences of violence at work in the previous year and perceptions of the organizational safety climate. Logistic regressions examined staff interaction and safety climate factors associated with verbal and physical violence, respectively.

Results: Interpersonal conflict was a risk factor for verbal violence (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.04 to 2.12, P < 0.05) and low work efficiency was a risk factor for physical violence (OR .98, 0.97 to 0.99). A poor violence prevention climate was a risk factor for verbal (OR 0.48, 0.36 to 0.65, P < .001) and physical (OR 0.60, 0.45 to 0.82, P < .05) violence.

Conclusions: Interventions should aim at improving coworker relationships, work efficiency, and management promotion of the hospital violence prevention climate.

Department of Family Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.

Address correspondence to: Judith Arnetz, PhD, MPH, PT, Department of Family Medicine, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, 788 Service Rd., B103 Clinical Center, East Lansing, Michigan 48824 (

Source of Funding: This study was funded by The Centers for Disease Control-National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health [CDC-NIOSH], grant number R01 OH009948. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of CDC-NIOSH.

Conflicts of Interest: The QWC survey instrument is owned and marketed by the Swedish company Springlife AB. Dr B. Arnetz is the cofounder and co-owner of this company.

Authors J. Arnetz, Hamblin, Sudan, and B. Arnetz have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Copyright © 2018 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine