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Workplace aggression in clinical medical practice: associations with job satisfaction, life satisfaction and self-rated health

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Workplace aggression is a prevalent phenomenon, particularly in health care work.1,2 In clinical medical practice, aggression prevalence rates of up to 75% for non-physical forms and 33% for physical forms in the previous 6, 12 or 24 months have been reported.3,4 In our earlier Australian research, workplace aggression was found to be most prevalent among the younger and primarily hospital-based non-specialists and specialists in training.4 Additionally, it was found to be associated with clinicians who have a greater external control orientation, work a greater number of and more unpredictable hours, feel they have a poor support network of other doctors like them, and consider most of their patients to have complex health and social problems and unrealistic expectations of how the clinician can help them.5

Few studies have investigated the likely consequences of workplace aggression for medical clinicians, mostly related to patient aggression.3 Clinicians who have been exposed to such aggression have reported experiencing feelings of vulnerability or inadequacy,6 diminished confidence or enthusiasm for treating patients,7