Situational variables and institutional violence: a systematic review of the literature.

Department of Psychology, Centre for the Study of Violence, Glasgow Caledonian University, Cowcaddens Road, Glasgow, G41 0BA, Scotland, United Kingdom.
Clinical Psychology Review (Impact Factor: 7.18). 10/2006; 26(5):515-34. DOI: 10.1016/j.cpr.2006.02.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The impact of violence on institutions is not hard to discern: staff and patients are physically injured and may become psychologically disturbed, property is destroyed, and regimes and programs are disrupted and thereby impoverished. Furthermore, violent individuals are not only incarcerated for longer but are held in more expensive and more restrictive conditions. In order to manage institutional violence, risk factors need to be identified. Research directed at understanding institutional violence has tended to focus on person-centered explanations. However, human behavior does not occur in a vacuum of internal drives and motivations; situational factors are also relevant. A focus on situational risk factors may provide an additional means for managing institutional violence. The primary aim of this systematic review was to examine research that measured the impact of situational factors on institutional violence. The relationships among physical, verbal and/or sexual face-to-face violence and situational factors in prisons and closed psychiatric settings were reviewed. A descriptive and in-depth analysis of previous research findings was carried out. Findings indicated that a range of situational factors may impact on institutional violence. Methodological issues that influence the confidence that can be placed on these findings are considered. The implications of the findings are outlined.

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