Gender, sexual harassment, workplace violence, and risk assessment: Convergence around psychiatric staff's perceptions of personal safety

Mary A. Hatch-Maillette, Mario J. Scalora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


This paper reviews literature in sexual harassment, workplace violence, and risk assessment as it relates to staff in psychiatric and forensic work environments. These three areas of research overlap in their applicability to psychiatric staff in that each addresses the understanding and management of types of violence to which many staff, particularly women, are likely to be exposed while working. Employee well-being, encompassing mental and physical health, job satisfaction, and morale, has been shown to be closely tied to organizational productivity and cost. In addition, gender has been shown to be an important factor in perceptions and decision-making, and prior work has suggested that female staff often have qualitatively different experiences in traditional male workplaces such as inpatient and forensic settings. Despite these findings, research to date on psychiatric staff has typically focused only on number of assaults by patients. It has not addressed how staff's gender may impact their perceptions of personal safety and judgments of risk from patients, nor have any empirical studies been performed in naturalistic settings to investigate this issue. Given the high correlation between organizational productivity and employee well-being, it is mutually beneficial to both employers and staff to examine current understanding of how certain staff variables such as gender may influence their feelings of safety and judgments of risk from patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-291
Number of pages21
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002



  • Gender
  • Risk assessment
  • Safety
  • Sexual harassment
  • Workplace violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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