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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 43 (2001) 11, 751 - 756

New research

Assaults by patients on psychiatric residents in Flanders: a retrospective study

E. Speybrouck, G. Pieters, S. Joos

background Studies in the United States and Canada show that psychiatric residents are frequently confronted with acts of violence. There are no data available on these events in Flanders.

aim To determine in Flanders the frequency and severity of assaults on psychiatric residents and the training they receive in the management of violent patients.

method In march 2000 a questionnaire was distributed to all 164 psychiatric residents in Flanders. The questionnaire inquired about experiences of assaults and training in management of violent patients.

results Ninety-nine questionnaires were returned (60%). Seventy-two percent of the respondents reported being threatened, and 56% had been physically assaulted. Only 21% received a training in dealing with aggression and of this group only 12% described their training as adequate.

conclusion Results of this study and of previous studies clearly indicate that psychiatric residents in Flanders have a high risk for assault. For various reasons this problem appears to have not been adequately addressed in the past.

keywords aggression, education, psychiatry, violence