OBJECTIVES: To assess consequences of physical violence at work and identify their predictors.
METHODS: Among the patients in a medicolegal consultation from 2007 to 2010, the subsample of workplace violence victims (n = 185) was identified and contacted again in average 30 months after the assault. Eighty-six victims (47 %) participated. Ordinal logistic regression analyses assessed the effect of 9 potential risk factors on physical, psychological and work consequences summarized in a severity score (0-9).
RESULTS: Severity score distribution was as follows: 4+: 14 %; 1-3: 42 %; and 0: 44 %. Initial psychological distress resulting from the violence was a strong predictor (p < 0.001) of the severity score both on work and long-term psychological consequences. Gender and age did not reach significant levels in multivariable analyses even though female victims had overall more severe consequences. Unexpectedly, only among workers whose jobs implied high awareness of the risk of violence, first-time violence was associated with long-term psychological and physical consequences (p = 0.004). Among the factors assessed at follow-up, perceived lack of employers' support or absence of employer was associated with higher values on the severity score. The seven other assessed factors (initial physical injuries; previous experience of violence; preexisting health problems; working alone; internal violence; lack of support from colleagues; and lack of support from family or friends) were not significantly associated with the severity score.
CONCLUSIONS: Being a victim of workplace violence can result in long-term consequences on health and employment, their severity increases with the seriousness of initial psychological distress. Support from the employer can help prevent negative outcomes.
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