Violence Against Educators: A Population-Based Study

Regional Injury Prevention Research Center and Center for Violence Prevention and Control, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN55455, USA.
Journal of occupational and environmental medicine / American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.63). 02/2011; 53(3):294-302. DOI: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31820c3fa1
Source: PubMed


Identify the magnitude and risk factors for occupational physical assault (PA) and nonphysical violence (NPV) against Minnesota educators.
Among 26,000 randomly selected licensed kindergarten to grade 12 educators, 6469 eligible educators reported whether they experienced PA or NPV during the prior year. Multiple logistic regression models were based on directed acyclic graphs.
Respective PA and NPV annual rates per 100 educators were 8.3 and 38.4. Work changes resulted among PA (13% to 20%) and NPV (22%) victims. Risks increased for master's prepared or education specialists who worked in public alternative schools and special education. Risks decreased for those working for more than 20 years, part time, and in private schools. Physical assault risk decreased when teaching grades 3 to 12 (vs kindergarten to grade 2), but NPV risk increased.
Targeted efforts on specific violence risk and protective factors are essential to improve educators' work environments.

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    • "special education teachers, who are almost five times more at risk than classroom educators (Gerberich et al., 2011), or nurses in psychiatry, who are almost twice as much at risk of any workplace violence than nurses in pediatrics (Campbell et al., 2011). Despite violence once being seen as exclusively a problem for occupations like prison officers, there are no recent studies on the prevalence among employees in prisons. "
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    ABSTRACT: Unlabelled: The aim of this study was to investigate threats and physical violence in the workplace by comparing four areas of human service work, namely psychiatry, eldercare, the Prison and Probation Service (PPS), and special schools (SS). The results revealed that there were statistically significant differences in the frequency of threats and violence among these areas of human service work. In particular, employees in SS were frequently exposed. More exposure was related to a higher degree of reporting incidents in writing to the workplace. However, exposure was not consistently related to self-rated seriousness of the incidents or attitudes that reflect accept of workplace threats and violence. Both threats and physical violence were rated within a moderate range of seriousness in all these areas of work. PPS and SS expressed more accept (attitude) of workplace threats and violence in comparison to psychiatry and eldercare. Conclusion: workplace threats and violence toward staff in areas of human service work is a widespread phenomenon. There is a particular need for better prevention in SS, more research on the seriousness of threats in general, and more knowledge about the relationship between work environment and attitudes about workplace threats and violence.
    No preview · Article · May 2013 · Journal of Interpersonal Violence
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    • "Verbal abuse was defined as 'when another person yells or swears, calls you names, or uses other words intended to control or hurt' (Gerberich et al., 2011). Bullying was defined as 'repeated acts of intimidation or coercion' (Gerberich et al., 2011). For this analysis, occupation categories were formed for six mutually exclusive groups: special education teachers, general education teachers, pupil service professionals (nurses, administrators, counselors , psychologists, social workers), education support personnel (custodial staff, food service workers, secretaries, transportation workers), aides (teaching, non-teaching, and librarian specialist), and other. "
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to measure the prevalence and characteristics of physical and non-physical WPV in a state-based cohort of education workers. A sample of 6,450 workers was drawn using de-identified union membership lists, stratified on gender, occupation, and school location. A cross-sectional survey was mailed to participants. An estimated 7.8% (95%CI=6.6-9.1) of education workers were physically assaulted and 28.9% (95%CI=26.4-31.5) experienced a non-physical WPV event during the 2009-2010 school year. Special education teachers were significantly more likely to be physically assaulted and experience a non-physical WPV event compared to general education teachers (Prevalence Rate Ratio=3.6, 95% 2.4-5.5; PRR=1.4, 95%CI=1.1-1.8). Special education teachers were at the highest risk for both physical and non-physical WPV. If not already present, schools should consider implementing comprehensive WPV prevention programs for their employees. Special education teachers have unique workplace hazards. Strategies that protect the special education teacher, while still protecting the special education student should be considered.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Journal of safety research
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    ABSTRACT: 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.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2013 · Journal of safety research
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