Occupational injury among hospital patient-care workers: What is the association with workplace verbal abuse?

Erika L. Sabbath, David A. Hurtado, Cassandra A. Okechukwu, Sara L. Tamers, Candace Nelson, Seung Sup Kim, Gregory Wagner, Glorian Sorenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: To test the association between workplace abuse exposure and injury risk among hospital workers. We hypothesized that exposed workers would have higher injury rates than unexposed workers. Methods: Survey of direct-care workers (n=1,497) in two hospitals. Exposure to workplace abuse was assessed through self-report; occupational injury reports were extracted from employee records. We tested associations between non-physical workplace violence and injury using log-binomial regression and multilevel modeling. Results: Adjusted prevalence ratio (PR) for injury associated with being yelled at was 1.52 (95% CI 1.19, 1.95); for experiencing hostile/offensive gestures 1.43 (1.11, 1.82); and for being sworn at 1.41 (1.09, 1.81). In analyses by injury subtypes, musculoskeletal injuries were more strongly associated with abuse than were acute traumatic injuries. Associations operated on group and individual levels and were most consistently associated with abuse perpetrated by patients. Conclusion: Exposure to workplace abuse may be a risk factor for injuries among hospital workers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-232
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Non-physical violence
  • Occupational injury
  • Workplace abuse
  • Workplace harassment
  • Workplace violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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