Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 77, Issue 3, pp 239–249

Characteristics of Assaultive Psychiatric Patients: Fifteen-Year Analysis of the Assaulted Staff Action Program (ASAP)


    • Department of PsychologyWorcester State Hospital
  • Jerry Juliano
    • Massachusetts Department of Mental Health
  • Susan Cronin
    • Massachusetts Department of Mental Health
  • Andrew P. Walker
    • Massachusetts Department of Mental Health
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11126-006-9011-1

Cite this article as:
Flannery, R.B., Juliano, J., Cronin, S. et al. Psychiatr Q (2006) 77: 239. doi:10.1007/s11126-006-9011-1


This study reports on a fifteen-year longitudinal analysis of the characteristics of assaultive patients in one public-sector mental health care system. The data were gathered within the context of the Assaulted Staff Action Program (ASAP), a crisis intervention service for staff victims. The fifteen-year findings were consistent with previous worldwide research on assaultive patients and included both older male patients with schizophrenia and younger personality-disordered patients as high-risk assailants. Both groups had appreciable histories of violence toward others, personal victimization, and substance use disorders. The role of these three clinical variables in association with subsequent assaults, the role of trauma in female assailants, and the consistency of the fundamental characteristics of assaultive patients during several service system initiatives were examined. Implications for research and intervention are discussed.


Assaulted staff action program (ASAP)AssaultsCharacteristicsPatients

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006