Nonviolent psychiatric inpatients and subsequent assaults on community patients and staff

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Community Mental Health Services; Crime Victims; Female; *Health Personnel; Humans; Male; *Mental Disorders; Middle Aged; Occupational Exposure; Retrospective Studies; Violence


Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology


Health care staff on psychiatric inpatient units are at high risk for work-related assaults by patients. Recent studies have begun to document similar patient assaults toward staff in community-based residences. Earlier community studies did not control for the level of patient assault prior to community discharge, and it remains unknown whether the community residence assaults were a function of community placement or a reflection of ongoing control issues by the recently discharged patients. This preliminary inquiry retrospectively tracked the nature and frequency of assaults by patients newly discharged to community residences from a state hospital setting where there had been no assaults by these patients for a two-and-one half-year period. While base rates remain to be determined, the findings in this study suggest the assaultive patients to be younger males with diagnoses of schizophrenia and histories of violence toward others, substance abuse, and violence toward self. Nine patients committed the majority of the assaults. There was a significant decline in the frequency of assaults nine months post-discharge. The implications are discussed.

DOI of Published Version



Psychiatr Q. 2001 Spring;72(1):19-27. DOI: 10.1023/A:1004853802285

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Psychiatric quarterly

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID