Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
JACKSON, Maria and ASHLEY, Deanna. Physical and psychological violence in Jamaica's health sector. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2005, vol.18, n.2, pp. 114-121. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892005000700006.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of experiences with physical violence and psychological violence that health staff have had in the workplace in Jamaica, and to identify factors associated with those experiences of violence. DESIGN AND METHODS: A total of 832 health staff answered the standardized questionnaire that was used in this cross-sectional study. Sampling was done at public facilities, including specialist, tertiary, and secondary hospitals in the Kingston Metropolitan Area; general hospitals in the rural parishes; and primary care centers in urban and rural areas. Sampling was also done in private hospitals and private medical centers. RESULTS: Psychological violence was more prevalent than was physical violence. Verbal abuse had been experienced in the preceding year by 38.6% of the questionnaire respondents, bullying was reported by 12.4%, and physical violence was reported by 7.7%. In multivariate analyses there was a lower risk of physical violence for health staff who were 55 years or older, worked during the night, or worked mostly with mentally disabled patients, geriatric patients, or HIV/AIDS patients. Staff members working mostly with psychiatric patients faced a higher risk of physical assaults than did other health staff. Of the various health occupations, nurses were the ones most likely to be verbally abused. In terms of age ranges, bullying was more commonly experienced by health staff 40-54 years old. CONCLUSIONS: Violence in the health sector workplace in Jamaica is an occupational hazard that is of public health concern. Evaluation of the environment that creates risks for violence is necessary to guide the formulation of meaningful interventions for the country.
Keywords : Workplace; health personnel; violence; wounds and injuries; stress, psychological; occupational health; Jamaica.