Workplace Violence, Workforce Stability, and Well-being in China’s Psychiatric Hospitals

Am J Prev Med. 2021 Dec 2:S0749-3797(21)00547-X. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2021.09.013. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Workplace violence against psychiatric professionals is a growing problem, yet nationally representative data in China are lacking. This study examines workplace violence against psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses in China as well as its association with workforce stability and well-being .

METHODS: Data came from a 2019 national survey of 14,264 participants (including 4,520 psychiatrists and 9,744 nurses) from 41 psychiatric hospitals across China. The occurrence of physical and verbal assaults among psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses was reported. Logistic regression models were constructed to examine the participants’ characteristics associated with encountering workplace violence and the association of encountering violence with self-reported quality of life, health status, turnover intention, and career satisfaction. Analyses were performed during 2020.

RESULTS: In 2019, among 14,264 psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses in China, 81% reported encountering workplace violence during the past year. Psychiatrists were 0.68 (95% CI=0.55, 0.83) times less likely to report an encounter of violence than nurses. Male and younger nurses were 2.20 (95% CI=1.72, 2.81) and 1.21 (95% CI=1.01, 1.45) times more likely to report violence. Psychiatrists who had a higher educational degree or a higher professional rank were more vulnerable to violence. Encountering violence was significantly associated with poor quality of life, less satisfaction with health status, greater intention to leave the current job, and career dissatisfaction.

CONCLUSIONS: Workplace violence against psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses are common in China, indicating that China’s psychiatric professionals are facing a significant threat to occupational safety. To maintain psychiatric workforce stability, actions are needed to reduce the prevalence of workplace violence at the system, institutional, and individual levels.

PMID:34865934 | DOI:10.1016/j.amepre.2021.09.013

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