Graduation Year

2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Paul E. Spector, Ph.D.

Keywords

Workplace aggression, Nursing health and safety, Emotional strain, Violence prevention climate, Social burden

Abstract

Using a 471-case nursing sample, the current study examined the direct and indirect relationships between workplace aggression (including physical and psychological) against nurses and their health and safety consequences. Specifically, physical and psychological aggression nurses experienced were related to their job dissatisfaction, turnover intention, physical symptoms, injuries and exposure to contagious disease directly and/or indirectly through their emotional strain (irritation, anxiety, and depression). In addition, my findings demonstrated that stronger violence prevention climate (i.e., good prevention practices/response and low pressure for unsafe practices) was related to less frequent violence and psychological aggression incidents nurses experienced.

Also, my results indicated significant moderating effect of organizational violence prevention practices/response (one dimension of violence prevention climate) in the relationships of nurses' physical and psychological aggression with their anxiety and depression, such that nurses who perceived stronger (vs. weaker) violence prevention climate seemed to be more (vs. less) anxious about or depressed by aggression incidents that occurred to them. However, overall nurses who perceived stronger violence prevention climate felt less anxious and depressed at work than those who perceived weaker climate. Finally, regarding the role of social burden, there was evidence from this study supporting its positive relationship with nurses' perceived irritation, anxiety, and depression although there did not seem to be evidence supporting its moderating role between nurses' aggression experience and their emotional strain.

In summary, emotional strain seemed to be a relatively consistent mediator between nurses' aggression experiences and their health or safety consequences, and nurses' perceived social context (violence prevention climate and social burden) did significantly and directly relate to their health and safety consequences, but more research is warranted before we conclude about their potential moderating role in the aggression-consequence relationships.

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