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Psychosocial correlates of harassment, threats and fear of violence in the workplace.

Cole-LL; Grubb-PL; Sauter-SL; Swanson-NG; Lawless-P
Scand J Work, Environ & Health 1997 Oct; 23(6):450-457
The effects of psychosocial and structural factors on workplace violence were examined. In 1993, a total of 598 civilian workers in the United States completed a telephone survey concerning workplace violence, workplace characteristics, and working conditions. During the past year, 10% of the 598 respondents feared becoming victims of workplace violence. Of the 598 respondents, 19% were harassed in the past year, 13% were threatened in the past 5 years, and 14% reported coworkers being physically attacked at the workplace in the past year. The risk of fear of violence was increased most significantly for workers with low coworker support and dealings with the public, with odds ratios (ORs) of 3.55 and 2.91, respectively. Fear of violence was also significantly associated with work schedule, layoff worry, worksite location in central city, and nonprofit or government employer. The risk of harassment was increased most significantly for workers with low work group harmony and layoffs or firings, with ORs of 2.13 and 1.86, respectively. Workplace harassment was also significantly associated with low supervisor support, low coworker support, layoff worry, age, and female gender. The risk of personal threats in the workplace was elevated most significantly for workers with low supervisor support, with an OR of 2.00. Personal threats were also significantly associated with low work group harmony, work schedule, money handling, and supervisor status. In the final logistic regression model, fear of violence was predicted by low coworker support, work schedule, dealing with the public, and layoff worry. Workplace harassment was predicted by low work group harmony, low coworker support, layoffs, age, and female gender. Personal threats were predicted by low work group harmony, low supervisor support, money handling, and supervisor status. The authors conclude that psychosocial and structural work factors may influence workplace violence.
NIOSH-Author; Humans; Workplace-violence; Workplace-harassment; Verbal-abuse; Physical-abuse; Psychological-factors; Sociological-factors; Age-factors; Sex-factors; Risk-factors; Occupational-psychology; Occupational-sociology; Author Keywords: aggression; hostility; job stress; work climate; workplace violence
Dr Paula L Grubb, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences, Applied Psychology and Ergonomics Branch, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Mail Stop C-24, Cincinnati, OH 45226, USA
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Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health