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Aggressive and violent behavior in
a population of psychiatric inpatients.
Azzoni A, Lubich L.
Department of Mental Health, Santo
Spirito Hospital, Rome, Italy.
The aim of this observational
study was to assess the rates of aggressive and violent behavior in
patients admitted to an Italian emergency psychiatric unit and to
explore possible risk factors for patient violence. In a population of
313 consecutive patients, we considered aggressive or violent behavior,
rated according to a hierarchy from no aggressive behavior to serious
physical violence. The results confirm that young age, psychotic
symptoms, excitement, akathisia, and diagnosis of personality disorder
are risk factors for violent behavior. The unique and major finding of
the study is the low prevalence of aggressive and violent acts in this
sample of patients, possibly related to their cultural background and to
the system of psychiatric care. These data provide supportive evidence
for the importance of sociocultural factors in the behavior of
psychiatric patients and suggest the need to explore new strategies of
prevention and treatment of patient aggression and violence. A
non-restraint policy could be a critical factor in reducing violence
among psychiatric inpatients.
PMID: 9383975 [PubMed - indexed for