Papadopoulos C, Ross J, Stewart D, Dack C, James K, Bowers L. The antecedents of violence and aggression within psychiatric in-patient settings.
Objective: To systematically review the types and proportions of antecedents of violence and aggression within psychiatric in-patient settings.
Method: Empirical articles and reports with primary data pertaining to violence and aggression within adult psychiatric in-patient settings were retrieved. For each study, prospective antecedent data were extracted. The extracted antecedent data were thematically analysed, and all higher-level themes were meta-analysed using rate data.
Results: Seventy-one studies met the inclusion criteria, from which 59 distinct antecedent themes were identified and organised into nine higher-level themes. The higher-level antecedent theme ‘staff–patient interaction’ was the most frequent type of antecedent overall, precipitating an estimated 39% of all violent/aggressive incidents. An examination of the staff–patient interaction themes revealed that limiting patients freedoms, by either placing some sort of restriction or denying a patient request, was the most frequent precursor of incidents, accounting for an estimated 25% of all antecedents. The higher-level themes ‘patient behavioural cues’ and ‘no clear cause’ also produced other large estimates and were attributed to 38% and 33% of incidents overall.
Conclusion: This review underscores the influence that staff have in making in-patient psychiatric wards safe and efficacious environments.