Abstract Extensive, largely cross-sectional research has documented the continued
occurrence of patient assaults on male and female staff. Different studies report either
male or female staff to be at highest risk. Studies of same/different gender assaults which
might more fully answer this question have been few. In these latter studies both male
and female staff were at high risk for same gender assaults. In community settings males
were at risk from same gender assaults but females were at risk from assaults by both
patient genders. The present 15-year longitudinal retrospective study examined same/
different gender assaults over time. Since the health care system under study experi-
enced several major policy changes during these years, data were also examined at
5-year intervals to assess the stability of ﬁndings across time. Male and female staff were
at increased risk from same gender assaults over time in both inpatient and community
settings. The ﬁndings and their implications are discussed. In addition, a cost-effective,
comprehensive risk management strategy for containing assaults is outlined.
Keywords Assaults Æ Gender Æ Psychiatric Patient Æ Risk Management Æ
During the past forty years, levels of assault in the United States have increased over
six fold . Health care settings have not been exempt from this violence, as reviews
R. B. Flannery Jr, Ph.D. Æ L. Marks, L.I.C.S.W. Æ A. P. Walker, B.A.
Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, Boston, MA, USA
R. B. Flannery Jr, Ph.D. Æ L. Laudani, M.A.
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
R. B. Flannery Jr, Ph.D. (&)
Department of Psychology/6B, Worcester State Hospital, 305 Belmont Street, Worcester,
MA 01604, USA
L. Laudani, M.A.
Vinfen Corporation, Boston, MA, USA
Psychiatr Q (2007) 78:83–90
Psychiatric Patient Assault and Staff Victim Gender:
Fifteen-year Analysis of the Assaulted Staff Action
Raymond B. Flannery Jr, Ph.D. Æ Louise Marks, L.I.C.S.W.
Lisa Laudani, M.A. Æ Andrew P. Walker, B.A.
Published online: 8 March 2007
Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007