Work-related violence against educators in Minnesota: Rates and risks based on hours exposed

University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, Minnesota, United States
Journal of safety research (Impact Factor: 1.34). 02/2013; 44(1):73-85. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsr.2012.12.005
Source: PubMed


Violence is a major occupational problem; yet, rigorous studies focused on educators to address this problem are limited. The objective was to identify educators' potential risks for physical assault (PA) and nonphysical violence (NPV), based on hours exposed.
A total of 4,731 licensed kindergarten through grade 12 Minnesota educators, identified from the Minnesota Department of Education database, participated. Specially designed mailed questionnaires (12-month recall) enabled data collection. Calculated PA and NPV rates, per 100,000 working hours, used Poisson regression. Directed acyclic graphs identified confounders for multivariable analysis, adjusted for non-response and unknown eligibility.
The total PA rate was 5.3; PA risks increased for educators who: were non-married versus married; held master's degrees, or education specialist degrees, versus associate/bachelor's degrees; worked in public alternative and various school types, versus public schools; worked as social workers, in special education or multiple activities, versus standard classroom teaching; worked with <10, versus 10 to <25 students in the class. The total NPV rate was 26.4; subcategory rates were: threat (34.8); sexual harassment (7.6); verbal abuse (55.5); bullying (19.6). Increased risks for NPV included: 30-39 and 60-79, versus 50-59years of age; non-married versus married; working in public alternative versus public schools; working part-time or substitute, versus full-time; teaching in special education or multiple activities, versus standard classroom teaching; teaching in class sizes <10 and ≥25, versus 10-24 students; teaching in grades 3-12 and multiple grades, versus kindergarten to second grade. The investigated results for PA and NPV were similar, with a few exceptions. DISCUSSION AND IMPACT ON INDUSTRY: Results from this study provided information about factors associated with increased and decreased risks for violence against educators, based on hours worked. In addition, they provided a basis for further investigations to reduce violence against educators in the school environment.

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