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Violence toward physicians in emergency departments of Morocco: prevalence, predictive factors, and psychological impact

Author(s): Belayachi Jihane | Berrechid Kamal | Amlaiky Fatiha | Zekraoui Aicha | Abouqal Redouane

Journal: Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology
ISSN 1745-6673

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 27;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Abstract Introduction Anyone working in the hospital may become a victim of violence. The effects of violence can range in intensity and include the following: minor physical injuries, serious physical injuries, temporary or permanent physical disability, psychological trauma, and death. The aim of this study was to determine the frequency of exposure, characteristics, and psychological impact of violence toward hospital-based emergency physicians in Morocco. Methods This was a survey including emergency physicians who ensured emergency service during the last fortnight. The variables studied were those related to the victim (age and gender), and those related to aggression: assaulter gender, number, time, reason (delay of consultation and/or care, acute drunkenness, neuropsychiatric disease), and type (verbal abuse, verbal threat and/or physical assault). After the questionnaire was completed, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) of Spielberg was applied to all participants. Results A total of 60 physicians have achieved permanence in emergency department during the 15 days preceding the questionnaire response. The mean age was 24 ± 1 year and 57% were male. A total of 42 (70%) had been exposed to violence. The violence occurred at night n = 16 (27%), afternoon n = 13 (22%), evening n = 7 (12%) and morning n = 6 (10%). Reasons for violence were: the delay of consultation or care in n = 31 (52%) cases, acute drunkenness in n = 10 (17%) cases and neuropsychiatric disease in n = 3 (5%) cases. Twenty eight (47%) participants stated that they experienced verbal abuse, n = 18 (30%) verbal threat and n = 5 (8.3%) physical assault. Exposure to some form of violence was related to a higher median [interquartile range, IQR] state anxiety point (SAP); (51 [46-59] vs 39 [34-46]; P < 0,001), and trait anxiety point (TAP) (48 [41-55] vs 40,5 [38-53]; P = 0,01). Conclusions This study revealed a high prevalence (70%) of violence toward doctors in Morocco emergency departments. The exposure of physicians to some form of violence is greater among doctors with anxiety trait and was related to significant degree of anxiety state.
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