Conflict in the Workplace: Social Workers as Victims and Perpetrators

Author: Ringstad, Robin

Source: Social Work, 1 October 2005, vol. 50, no. 4, pp. 305-313(9)

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Abstract:

Conflict and violence in the workplace have emerged as a real but inadequately explored concern in the social work profession. The present study surveyed a national random sample of 1,029 NASW members about their experiences with client violence and with physical and psychological assault in relationship to practice setting, age, gender, and experience. Although results cannot be generalized due to response bias in the sample, 62 percent of social workers in the study reported they had been victims of physical or psychological assault and 14 percent reported they had committed such an assault on a client within the past year. Most incidents were psychological in nature (primarily verbal aggression), although physical violence was also documented. Male social workers were more likely to be both victims and perpetrators of aggression, and these conflicts were more common in inpatient, correctional, and school settings. Training implications are discussed.

Keywords: ASSAULT; CLIENTS; PERPETRATORS; SOCIAL WORKERS; VICTIMS; WORKPLACE VIOLENCE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2005

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