Survey: Outsider Most Often Workplace Violence Perpetrators

January 27, 2005 ( - Customers, clients, and patients are most often the wrongdoers when it comes to committing violent acts on the nearly half of US workers who fall victim to this problem, a new survey found.

The survey found that more than 40% of American workers reported being the victims of psychological aggression, including being screamed at, insulted, or threatened with physical violence, according to a HealthDay News report. About 6% of workers said they’ve been slapped, kicked or attacked with a weapon. Nearly all (96%) of workers who suffered physical violence also reported some form of psychological abuse.

Nearly 25% of workers surveyed said they were victims of aggression from customers, clients, patients or other members of the public, 15% said they’d experienced aggression from co-workers, and 13% reported that their bosses or supervisors were the culprits.

“Forty-seven million Americans experience psychological or physical aggression while on the job. Interestingly, workers pinpoint the general public as the most significant source of this aggression, as opposed to other co-workers or supervisors,” researcher Aaron Schat, assistant professor at the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University in Canada, said in a prepared statement. “Exposure to aggressive behavior at work is associated with a wide range of negative consequences for individuals and organizations, including negative work attitudes, reduced well-being, and, in cases of physical violence, bodily injury or death.”

The survey findings are included in the Handbook of Workplace Violence, which will be published in February.