Psychiatric nurses' attitudes towards inpatient aggression: Preliminary report of the development of Attitude Towards Aggression Scale (ATAS)

GJ Jansen*, TWN Dassen, JGM Burgerhof, B Middel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Professional skills to adequately manage patient aggression are a prerequisite for nurses working in psychiatric hospitals. These 'technical' skills, however, are necessary but not sufficient for effective nurse intervention. 'The attitude of nurses' towards client aggression also contributes to their response to a patient's behaviour. In order to study the domains (types) of attitudes towards aggression, a sample was taken of nurses working in the fields of general psychiatry (n = 288), psychiatry for children and adolescents (n = 242) and psychogeriatrics (n = 88). A cross-sectional survey design was adopted for the study. The Attitudes Towards Aggression Scale (ATAS) consisting of 32 items is presented, representing three types of attitudes towards aggression: aggression as a 'harming' reaction, a 'normal' reaction and a 'functional' reaction. The strongest predictors of the type of attitude respondents had towards the aggressive behaviour of their clients were (1) field, (2) setting they worked in, (3) gender and (4) type of shifts they predominantly had. Although the measure of domains of nurses' attitudes towards aggression needs further psychometric testing, it can be a useful tool in clinical practice for the assessment of staff attitudes towards aggression. 'This can support the decision-making about the management of aggressive behaviour on a ward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-53
Number of pages10
JournalAggressive Behavior
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2006

Keywords

  • aggression
  • mental health
  • attitude
  • scale
  • PATIENT AGGRESSION
  • VIOLENT BEHAVIOR
  • STAFF INJURIES
  • RISK-FACTORS
  • WORK SAFETY
  • HOSPITALS
  • WARDS
  • ASSAULTS
  • MANAGEMENT
  • RESTRAINT

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