Survey of threats and assaults by patients on psychiatry residents

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Internship and Residency; Psychiatry; Safety; Mentally Ill Persons; Physician-Patient Relations




OBJECTIVE: The authors sought to determine the prevalence of threats and assaults by patients on psychiatry residents, their consequences, and the perceived adequacy of supports and institutional responses.

METHOD: Authors conducted an anonymous survey of 519 psychiatry residents in 13 psychiatry programs across the United States. The survey questionnaire inquired about residents' experiences of threats and assaults by patients during their residency training.

RESULTS: The response rate for this survey was 39% (N=204). Residents were most commonly threatened (N=175; 86%), physically intimidated (N=145; 71%) or received unwanted advances (N=118; 58%). One-quarter (N=51; 25%) were physically assaulted. Most of the incidents occurred in inpatient settings (N=92; 45%).

CONCLUSION: This study, like previous studies on this topic, calls attention to the high number of residents that are affected by violence during their training, and it underscores the need to protect the safety of psychiatry residents and to support those who have been victimized.

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Citation: Acad Psychiatry. 2012 Jan 1;36(1):39-42. Link to article on publisher's site

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Link to Article in PubMed

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