Prevalence of verbal and physical workplace violence against nurses in psychiatric hospitals in China

Li Lu, Ka In Lok, Ling Zhang, Ailing Hu, Gabor S. Ungvari, Daniel T. Bressington, Teris Cheung, Feng Rong An, Yu Tao Xiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Workplace violence (WPV) is common in mental health services in China, but its multi-center prevalence measured using standardized rating scales has rarely been reported. This study aimed to explore the prevalence of verbal and physical violence against nurses working in psychiatric hospitals and examine its independent socio-demographic correlates in China. 

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted in 11 major psychiatric hospitals in China using a 9-item self-reported workplace violence scale. 

Results: A total of 1906 psychiatric nurses were recruited to participate in this study. The one-year prevalence of verbal and/or physical workplace violence (WPV) was 84.2% (95% CI: 82.4–85.8). The prevalence rates of verbal abuse, threats and physical violence were 79.3% (95% CI: 77.4–81.1), 70.9% (95% CI: 68.8–73.0) and 57.9% (95% CI: 55.7–60.2), respectively. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that working in department of psychiatry (OR = 3.42, P < 0.001), having moderate (OR = 2.05, P = 0.009), severe (OR = 2.04, P = 0.015) or extremely severe (OR = 3.21, P < 0.001) anxiety level of WPV and working in hospitals with a WPV reporting system (OR = 1.88, P < 0.001) were significantly associated with WPV. 

Conclusion: WPV against nurses is a serious occupational and public health concern in Chinese psychiatric hospitals. Appropriate preventive measures should be undertaken to reduce the risk of WPV in healthcare settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-72
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Psychiatric Nursing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


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