The Legacy of Violent Attack: an Exploratory Study of Occupational Therapy Students' Experiences of Violent Attack

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This study aimed to develop an understanding of occupational therapy students' experiences of violent attack by a client. A qualitative approach was chosen, which involved semi-structured interviews with three students and an analysis of the researcher's experience of violent attack.

A wide variety of reactions to violent attack by a client was reported, including fear, anger, concern for others, minimisation and thoughts about changing career. The explanations for these reactions are reported and discussed. The participants reported changes in their therapeutic relationships with clients. The findings also suggested that there might be some occupational therapy personnel who feel that violence is 'part of the job'.

Three key issues are discussed: the nature of the reactions to violent attack, the perceptions of role and the therapeutic relationship with the client. It is suggested that these findings have important implications for the education and training and the support of occupational therapy students. Recommendations are made regarding the need for further research to inform the way forward in training and supporting those experiencing violence in clinical practice settings.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at

    Submissions can be made at

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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