Psychosocial Precursors and Physical Consequences of Workplace Violence Towards Nurses: A Longitudinal Examination with Naturally Occurring Groups in Hospital Settings

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Nursing, Violence prevention climate, Physical violence exposure, Somatic symptoms, Musculoskeletal disorder symptoms, Longitudinal design

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Background: Workplace violence towards nurses is prevalent and consequential, contributing to nurses’ reduced health and safety, worsened job attitudes, and compromised productivity.

Objectives: To examine if organizational violence prevention climate as perceived by nurses predicts nurses’ physical violence exposure and if physical violence exposure predicts nurses’ somatic symptoms and musculoskeletal disorder symptoms.

Design: A two-wave longitudinal design with naturally occurring groups, with a 6-month interval.

Methods: Analysis of covariance and logistic regression were applied to test the proposed hypotheses among 176 nurses from two hospitals in the U.S. who participated in both surveys required by this study. All nurses from the two hospitals were recruited to participate voluntarily. The response rate was 30% for the first survey and 36% for the follow-up survey. Among the subjects, only 8 were male. On average, the subjects were about 45 years old, had a job tenure of about 17 years, and worked approximately 37 h per week.

Results: Violence prevention climate, specifically the dimension of perceived pressure against violence prevention, predicted nurses’ chance of being exposed to physical violence over six months (odds ratio 1.69), with no evidence found that violence exposure affected change in climate reports. In addition, results supported that nurses’ physical violence exposure had effects on somatic symptoms, and upper body, lower extremity, and low back pain over six months.

Conclusions: Findings of this study suggest that reducing organizational pressure against violence prevention will help decrease the chance of nurses’ physical violence exposure and benefit their health and safety.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

International Journal of Nursing Studies, v. 49, issue 9, p. 1091-1102