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Hostility and violence of acute psychiatric inpatients.

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  • 1Universit√† degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, Scuola di Specializzazione in Psichiatria, Ospedale Santo Spirito, Rome, Italy. michele.raja@fastwebnet.it



The aim of the present study was to find out the extent of hostility and violence and the factors that are associated with such hostility and violence in a psychiatric intensive care unit.


Retrospective analysis of data prospectively collected in a 6-year period.


No hostility was observed in 56.1%, hostility in 40.9%, and violence in 3.0% of the admitted cases. Seclusion was never used. Six cases (2.5 per thousand) required physical restraint. Risk factors associated with violence were younger age, suicidal risk, and diagnosis of schizophrenia. Risk factors associated with hostile and violent behavior were younger age at the onset of the disorder, being single, having no children, lower GAF scores, higher BPRS hostility, SAPS, and CGI scores, lower BPRS anxiety-depression score, higher doses of psychoactive drugs, more frequent use of neuroleptics, diagnosis of mania, personality disorder, substance and alcohol related disorders, no diagnosis of depression.


The study confirms the low rate of violence among Italian psychiatric in-patients, the major relevance of clinical rather than socio-demographic factors in respect of aggressive behavior, the possibility of a no seclusion-no physical restraint policy, not associated either with higher rates of hostility or violence or with more severe drug side effects.

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