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Psychiatr Serv. 2004 Feb;55(2):183-5.

Characteristics of violent behavior in a large state psychiatric hospital.

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  • 1Dorothea Dix State Psychiatric Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. jkraus@med.unc.edu


Violent behavior is a significant problem in psychiatric hospitals. The authors reviewed hospital incident reports to identify the characteristics of violent behavior in a large state psychiatric hospital. They found that a very small percentage of patients accounted for a majority of violent episodes, that rates of violent behavior varied among hospital units, that assaultive behavior was more common than self-harm in the long-term units, and that most commonly the assault victims were other patients. The data support earlier studies demonstrating that a small number of patients are responsible for a majority of violent episodes in a hospital setting.

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