Negative Acts as Risk Factor for Work-Related Violence and Threats from Clients towards Employees: A Follow-Up Study

Lars Peter Sønderbo Andersen*, Karin Biering, Paul Maurice Conway

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Work-related violence and threats are major problems in many occupations, especially within the human service sector, with consequences at multiple levels, including reduced physical and mental health, increased absenteeism, and reduced organizational commitment. It is, therefore, crucial to identify risk factors for work-related violence and threats. However, only a few studies have examined whether negative acts at work increase the risk of work-related violence and threats from clients toward employees.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the associations between exposure to negative acts towards employees from colleagues, clients, or a combination of both, and the risk of work-related violence and threats perpetrated by clients towards employees in a longitudinal study.

METHODS: Questionnaire data were collected in 2010, 2011, and 2015. In total, 5333 employees from special schools, psychiatric wards, eldercare, and the Prison and Probation Services participated in the first round of data collection in 2010. Negative acts were measured in 2010 using the Short Negative Acts Questionnaire, while work-related threats and violence were measured at all three-time points. The analyses were performed using multilevel logistic regression.

RESULTS: Negative acts from clients and the combination of negative acts from both clients and colleagues were associated with later exposure to work-related violence and threats. The associations were observed after one year, and work-related threats were still present after four years.

CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS: Negative acts are associated with an increased risk of work-related violence and threats perpetrated by clients toward employees. Organizations may reduce the risk of work-related violence and threats by preventing negative acts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3358
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume20
Issue4
Number of pages12
ISSN1661-7827
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

Keywords

  • follow-up study
  • negative acts
  • work-related threat
  • work-related violence

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