Experiences of preventing violence in two high-risk sectors: A qualitative study of front-line workers [Epub ahead of print]

Tidsskriftartikel - 2023


BACKGROUND: Exposure to workplace violence is associated with physical and/or psychological trauma. Despite its significant impact, little is known about front-line workers' experiences of preventing workplace violence.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to identify what workers identify as important to preventing workplace conflicts from escalating into violence.

METHODS: We conducted seventeen qualitative focus-group interviews with fifty-eight workers at the Danish Prison and Probation Service and psychiatric hospitals. We applied thematic analysis to identify types of violence-prevention practices, and prerequisites for successfully preventing workplace violence.

RESULTS: We identified two main categories of violence-prevention practices, and one main category of prerequisites for violence-prevention practices. Main category A), "the individual worker's violence-prevention practices" included the sub-categories, 1) identify the causes of workplace violence and potentially violent situations, 2) establish relationships, state rules, and set clear boundaries and 3) display empathy and communicate respectfully. Main category B), "collaborative practices for preventing workplace violence" included 4) communicate with co-workers, and share information and observations, 5) coordinate work, avoid being played off against colleagues, and support colleagues. Main category C), "prerequisites for violence-prevention practices" included 6) managing one's emotions, and 7) having sufficient time to do the job, and being a part of a stable team, whose members know each other and the inmates/patients".

CONCLUSION: This study contributes to a better understanding of the interplay among individual, collaborative, and contextual aspects of preventing workplace violence. We believe that an increased understanding of the complexity of preventing workplace violence in high-risk sectors is useful when designing comprehensive violence-prevention strategies.


Andersen DR, Karlsen IL, Jaspers SØ, Pedersen AHM, Andersen LPS, Aust B. Experiences of preventing violence in two high-risk sectors: A qualitative study of front-line workers [Epub ahead of print]. Work 2023.
doi: 10.3233/WOR-220151

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