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Occupational violence in the schools: impact of environmental factors.

Gerberich-SG; Nachreiner-NM; Ryan-AD; Church-TR; Mongin-SJ; McGovern-PM; Geisser-MS; Watt-GD; Feda-DM; Sage-SK; Pinder-E
APHA 136th Annual Meeting and Exposition, San Diego, California, October 25-29, 2008. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association, 2008 Oct; :174013
Introduction: While teachers are known to be at high risk for physical assault, little is known about relevant risk factors. Data were analyzed to determine the effect of reported environmental exposures on assaults against educators (kindergarten-grade 12). Methods: From the Minnesota license database, 26,000 randomly selected educators were screened for eligibility by mailed questionnaire; 6,180 were eligible. Phase-1 (12-month recall) identified eligible cases (n=290) and controls (n=867) and violent event characteristics; Phase-2 (case-control - one-month recall prior to assault and randomly selected month, respectively) enabled identification of environmental exposures. Confounders were selected for multiple logistic regression analyses using directed ayclic graphs; reweighting adjusted for response and eligibility biases. Results: Response was 84% for each phase. Assaults were primarily student-perpetrated (95%). Respective assault risks (ORs; 95% CIs) increased for educators working in environments where they witnessed students involved in: assault 1-3 (2.68,1.80-4.00); 4-10 (6.21, 3.55-10.88), 10+ (17.31, 8.64-34.68) versus zero times; threat 1-3 (1.53, 1.02-2.32), 4-10 (3.81, 2.28-6.39), 10+ (6.94, 3.91-12.33) versus zero times; sexual harassment 1-3 (1.77, 1.21-2.61), 4-10 (2.97, 1.55-5.68), 10+ (7.20, 3.25-15.99) versus zero times; verbal abuse, 10+ versus zero times (3.52, 2.09-5.96); bullying, 10+ versus zero times (2.99, 1.79-4.99). Risks also increased for working in environments with soft versus bright lighting (1.4,1.0-2.0) and presence of physical barriers (1.5, 1.1-2.2). Decreased risk was identified with presence of easily accessible exits (0.3, 0.2-0.7). Conclusions: Results suggest opportunities for further research and interventions to decrease risk of assaults for educators and others in school environments.
Force; Epidemiology; Teaching; Education; Physical-stress; Hazards; Exposure-levels; Risk-factors; Humans; Men; Women; Questionnaires; Statistical-analysis; Behavior; Work-environment; Workers; Author Keywords: Violence; Epidemiology
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APHA 136th Annual Meeting and Exposition, San Diego, California, October 25-29, 2008
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University of Minnesota - Twin Cities