Date: 25 Dec 2009

Assaults against nurses of general and psychiatric hospitals in Taiwan

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Nurses are at risk of occupational assaults. However, the incidence and effects have not been documented among nurses in Taiwan. We aimed to study the incidence of assaults and their effects, including quality of life and job-related stress among nurses.


A cross-sectional study was conducted to understand the incidence of work-related assaults in nurses. Job content questionnaire was used to determine the job control, psychological demands at work, and workplace support in these nurses. Quality of life was assessed by short form-36 (SF-36).


A total of 842 nurses satisfactorily completed the questionnaire, including 375 from general hospitals and 467 from psychiatric hospitals. A total of 237 (28.1%) reported to have experienced physical and/or verbal assaults in past 6 months. Experiences of sexual assault or verbal abuse were risk factors for feeling threatened by potential attacks. Nurses who felt threatened by potential attacked scored lower in general health, mental health, and vitality by SF-36, and had higher psychological demands at work, lower job control, and lower workplace support.


We conclude that nurses in general and psychiatric hospitals had high risk of assaults. Worksite assaults caused nurses to feel threatened, and such an effect was likely to cause increased job stress and decreased quality of life.