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J Family Community Med. 2018 Sep-Dec;25(3):188-193. doi: 10.4103/jfcm.JFCM_170_17.

Violence towards healthcare workers: A study conducted in Abha City, Saudi Arabia.

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Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia.
Interns and Students at King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia.



Workplace violence in healthcare settings is a common, but an underreported problem that has been largely ignored. Violence against healthcare workers can have an adverse effect on their performance outcomes and thus influence patients' health and satisfaction. The aim of this study was to determine the frequency and types of violence against healthcare workers in a Saudi Arabian city. It was also to identify the risk factors of violence against healthcare workers and to investigate the possible consequences of such behavior.


In Abha city, there are two government hospitals and ten primary healthcare centers. All healthcare workers in these healthcare institutions including physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, laboratory technicians or specialists, radiologists, social workers, and psychologists were eligible to participate in this cross-sectional study. Data were collected using a structured self-administered questionnaire.


A total of 738 healthcare workers responded (92% response rate). The mean age was 31 ± 7.7 years (range 21-60) and the majority (64.9%) were females and 69.4% were Saudis. More than half (57.5%) had experienced some workplace violence at least once. Verbal assaults and slaps were the most common form of workplace-related violence (58%).


Violence against healthcare workers in Abha city is more common, especially against nurses. The reasons need to be explored in order to set and develop policies, regulations and interventions to prevent violence against workers.


Healthcare workers; Saudi Arabia; violence

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