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J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2012 Dec;19(10):875-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2011.01870.x. Epub 2012 Feb 1.

Factor analysis of the French version of the shorter 12-item Perception of Aggression Scale (POAS) and of a new modified version of the Overt Aggression Scale (MOAS).

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Philippe-Pinel Institute Psychiatrist, Montreal, QC, Canada.


Psychiatric staff perceptions of aggression by psychiatric patients may affect the therapeutic relationship between care providers and patients in institutions. Attitudes to and the subjective experience of violence may also differ substantially between members of a single care team. This study seeks to validate the French versions of scales of staff attitudes to and subjective experience of institutional violence: a new, modified version of the Overt Aggression Scale (MOAS) to measure the subjective perception of the frequency of aggression in the ward; and the Perception of Aggression Scale (POAS) to assess attitudes to the expression of violence by psychiatric patients. Frontline staff (n = 362) from eight French-language psychiatric institutions in the province of Quebec were surveyed. Factor analyses were performed to determine the validity of the French-language MOAS and POAS. As expected, a four-factor structure emerged for the MOAS. For the 12-item POAS, a three-factor structure was found: (1) 'Aggression as a dysfunctional/undesirable phenomenon'; (2) 'Aggression as a positive expression'; and (3) 'Aggression as a protective measure'. This study supports use of the French MOAS and POAS in assessing staff attitudes to and subjective experience of aggression in future projects to explore the perception and management of inpatient violence.

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