Physical violence against general practitioners and nurses in Chinese township hospitals: A cross-sectional survey

Kai Xing, Mingli Jiao, Hongkun Ma, Hong Qiao, Yanhua Hao, Ye Li, Lijun Gao, Hong Sun, Zheng Kang, Libo Liang, Qunhong Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Purpose The purpose of this study is to identify risk factors of physical violence in Chinese township hospitals. Methods A cross-sectional survey was used in a sample of 442 general practitioners and 398 general nurses from 90 township hospitals located in Heilongjiang province, China (response rate = 84.8%). Results A total of 106 of the 840 (12.6%) respondents reported being physically attacked in their workplace in the previous 12 months. Most perpetrators were the patients' relatives (62.3%), followed by the patient (22.6%); 73.6%of perpetrators were aged between 20 and 40 years. Of the physical violence incidents, about 56.6%(n = 60) resulted in a physical injury, and 45.4% of respondents took two or three days of sick leave. Reporting workplace violence in hospitals to superiors or authorities was low (9.4%). Most respondents (62.8%) did not receive training on how to avoid workplace violence. Logistic regression analyses indicated that general nurses, aged 35 years or younger, and with a higher-level professional title were more likely to experience physical violence. Healthcare workers with direct physical contact (washing, turning, lifting) with patients had a higher risk of physical violence compared to other health care workers. Procedures for reporting workplace violence were a protective factor for physical violence; when in place, reporting after psychological violence (verbal abuse, bullying/mobbing, harassment, and threats) was more protective than waiting until an instance of physical violence (beating, kicking, slapping, stabbing, etc.). Conclusions Physical violence in Chinese township hospitals is an occupational hazard of rural public health concern. Policies, procedures, and intervention strategies should be undertaken to manage this issue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0142954
JournalPLoS One
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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