Forté, L., Lanctôt, N., Geoffrion, S., Marchand, A. et Guay, S. (2017). Experiencing violence in a psychiatric setting: Generalized hypervigilance and the influence of caring in the fear experienced. Work, 57(1), 55–67. doi:10.3233/WOR-172540
Experiencing violence in a psychiatric setting: Generalized hypervigilance and the influence of caring in the fear experienced.
2017

BACKGROUND: Exposure to violence in the mental health sector both affects employees and has implications for the quality of care provided. OBJECTIVE: This phenomenological study aims to describe and understand the ways in which acts of aggression from a patient might affect workers in a psychiatric institute, their relationships with the patients and the services offered. METHODS: Two semi-structured interviews were conducted with each of the 15 participants from various professions within a psychiatric hospital. RESULTS: Our analysis reveals four themes: hypervigilance, caring, specific fear toward the aggressor and generalized fear of all patients. A state of hypervigilance is found among all participants. An emphasis on caring is present among the majority and unfolds as a continuum, ranging from being highly caring to showing little or no caring. A feeling of fear is expressed and is influenced by the participant’s place on the caring continuum. Caring workers developed a specific fear of their aggressor, whereas those showing little or no caring developed a generalized fear of all patients. Following a violent event, caring participants maintained this outlook, whereas those demonstrating little to no caring were more inclined to disinvest from all patients. CONCLUSIONS: Hypervigilance and fear caused by experiences of violence impact the quality of care provided. Considerable interest should thus be paid to caring, which can influence fear and its effects.


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