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J Clin Psychiatry. 1988 Sep;49(9):338-45.

Assaults against psychiatrists in outpatient settings.

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Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.


Questionnaires were sent to 3800 psychiatrists in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware to investigate assaults against psychiatrists in outpatient settings. Ninety-one questionnaires were returned: 32 psychiatrists reported serious assaults (gun or knife), and 59 reported less serious assaults (object or physical attack). Significantly more personal injury and property damage resulted from the less serious assaults. Coping strategy was significantly related to the type of assault; positive verbal intervention was the most effective. Thirty-one (36%) of 87 respondents stated that they had moderate to strong feelings before the attack that the patient was potentially violent. Experienced psychiatrists were as likely to be victims of assault as were inexperienced psychiatrists. Forty-eight (59%) of 81 psychiatrists continued to treat the patients who had assaulted them. Only 20 (23%) of 87 psychiatrists had security arrangements at the time of the assault. The authors present four case vignettes which typify the different types of assaults, interventions, and outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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