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The physical and mental health of acute psychiatric ward staff, and its relationship to experience of physical violence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Published copy (DOI)


  • Laoise Renwick
  • Mary Lavelle
  • Karen James
  • Duncan Stewart
  • Michelle Richardson
  • Len Bowers


Publication details

JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Nursing
DateAccepted/In press - 16 Jul 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 27 Aug 2018
Early online date27/08/18
Original languageEnglish


To evaluate and describe the physical and mental health of staff on acute psychiatric wards and examine whether violence exposure is linked with health status. We undertook a cross-sectional survey with 564 nursing staff and healthcare assistants from 31 psychiatric wards in nine NHS Trusts using the SF-36, a reliable and valid measure of health status and compared summary scores with national normative data. Additional violence exposure data were collated simultaneously and also compared with health status. The physical health of staff was worse, and their mental health was better than the general population. Physical health data were skewed and showed a small number of staff in relatively poor health while the majority were above average. Better physical health was associated with less time in the current post, a higher pay grade, and less exposure to mild physical violence in the past year. Better mental health was associated with being older and from an ethnic minority background. Violence exposure influenced physical health but not mental health when possible confounders were considered. Mental health was strongly influenced by ethnicity, and further research might highlight the impact on own-group ethnic density on the quality of care. The impact of staff whom are physically unwell or impaired in the workplace needs to be considered as the quality of care may be compromised despite this being an example of inclusiveness, equal opportunities employment, and positive staff motivation.

Bibliographical note

© 2018, Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Inc. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

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