Attitudes Toward Violence: Study of Predictive Factors

Wednesday, July 13, 2011: 8:50 AM

Amorim Rosa, RN, MSN
Psychiatry Department, Escola Superior de Enfermagem de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand the main domains of the attitudes of nurses toward violence

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to understand some predictive factors of the different types of attitudes


Health care workers, especially psychiatric nurses continue to be victims of assaultive behaviour from their clients.

One of the factors known to be associated with the management of patient aggression is the attitudes of staff members toward the aggressive behaviour of patients.

The aim of the study was to determine the perception that nurses have about their attitudes toward violent patients; relate the change in attitudes with some socio-demographic data and identify the factors that may be considered as predictors of the different types of attitudes.


 We performed a regression analysis with data from a convenience sample of 158 psychiatric nurses, recruited in four psychiatric hospitals in Coimbra.

We used the ATAS (Attitudes Toward Aggression Scale), previously validated for the Portuguese population, considering the four factors of the scale as dependent variables, and gender, type of schedule, professional experience, type of service and use of restrictive measures as independent variables.


Factor I (offensive attitude) depends on the variables: “use of restrictive measures” ;“shift work”  and “type of schedule” and the three variables explain 15% of factor variance. Factor III (communicative attitude) depends on the variable "professional experience" and explains 2,6% of the variance. Factor IV (protective attitude) depends on the variable "gender" and explains 3,3% of variance.


 Being male and having greater professional experience corresponds to a stronger identification with the phenomenon of violence understood as behaviour or positive human energy: shift work and regular use of restrictive measures corresponds to a greater probability of identification with negative attitudes toward the aggressive behaviour.


Jansen, G.J., Middel, B. and Dassen, Th.W.N. (2005). An international comparative study on the reliability and validity of the attitudes toward aggression scale. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 42, 467-477.