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Keywords:

  • aggression management;
  • attitudes;
  • Management of Aggression and Violence Attitude Scale;
  • mental health;
  • survey designs;
  • transcultural nursing;
  • violence

Abstract

Title. The Management of Aggression and Violence Attitude Scale (MAVAS): a cross-national comparative study.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study to determine the transferability of the Management of Aggression and Violence Attitude Scale to European mental health inpatient settings.

Background.  Incidents of patient aggression and violence are common in psychiatric in-patient facilities, and nurses’ attitudes may play a part in how they are managed.

Methods.  Nursing staff from acute psychiatric in-patient units in Switzerland and the United Kingdom completed the Management of Aggression and Violence Attitude Scale. Data were collected in the UK in 2001 and Switzerland in 2003. The Swiss sample comprised 75 respondents: 45 female, mean age 36·24, mean experience 7·35 years, 60 Registered Nurses. The United Kingdom sample was 75 respondents: 58 female, mean age 32, mean experience 5·25 years, 48 Registered Nurses. T-tests identified differences between the groups in their responses to each Management of Aggression and Violence Attitude Scale statement.

Results.  There was 66% concordance of views between the groups. Swiss nurses were, however, more likely to regard factors internal to the patient as contributory to aggression while United Kingdom nurses perceived environmental factors to be more important. Both groups endorsed physical means of aggression management, Swiss nurses more so.

Conclusion.  There are both commonalities and differences between the attitudes of Swiss and United Kingdom nursing staff regarding patient aggression. Differences may relate to rates of aggression, variations in management approaches, training and policy. The Management of Aggression and Violence Attitude Scale is a potentially effective tool for making comparisons about perspectives on patient aggression.