Forty-seven million Americans are victims of workplace aggression

January 17, 2006

Nearly half of American workers are victims of workplace aggression, with customers, clients or patients the most likely source of attacks, according to a new comprehensive national survey.

"The stereotypical belief that large numbers of employees are 'going postal' is a bit of a myth," says Aaron Schat, assistant professor at the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University. "47 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."

The findings are drawn from a comprehensive national survey of workers on the prevalence of U.S. workplace aggression.

The survey found more than 40 per cent of American workers - about 47 million people - experience acts of psychological aggression, such as being screamed at, insulted, or threatened with physical violence, while at work. Acts of physical violence at work, such as being slapped, kicked or attacked with a weapon, were less common, with about 6 per cent of workers - nearly 7 million people - reporting exposure. Almost all workers (96 per cent) who experience physical violence also experience some form of psychological abuse. Only a small percentage of workers (0.26 per cent which represents about 300,000 workers) experience physical violence alone

Nearly one-quarter of respondents indicate they were victims of aggression from members of the public (customers, clients or patients), while 15 per cent report being victims of aggression from other employees and 13 per cent experienced aggression from supervisors or bosses.

Schat explains, "Exposure to aggressive behaviour 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 fact that such a large percentage of the American population has experienced workplace aggression demonstrates the need to address it."

A report on the survey and its findings is included in Handbook of Workplace Violence to be published in February 2006 by Sage. The report is co-authored by Schat, Michael R. Frone of the State University of New York at Buffalo, and E. Kevin Kelloway of Saint Mary's University in Halifax. Funding for this study was provided by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
-end-
McMaster University, a world-renowned, research-intensive university, fosters a culture of innovation, and a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University, one of only four Canadian universities to be listed on the Top 100 universities in the world, has a student population of more than 23,000, and an alumni population of more than 115,000 in 128 countries.

For more information, please contact:

Television Editors - Live interviews with Aaron Schat can be arranged using the DeGroote School of Business's broadcast studio. Call Julia Thomson at 905-525-9140 ext. 27436 to schedule airtime and book a live feed from campus.

Aaron Schat
Assistant Professor
DeGroote School of Business
McMaster University
905-525-9140 ext. 23946
schata@mcmaster.ca

Julia Thomson
Communications Officer
DeGroote School of Business
McMaster University
905-525-9140 ext. 27436
thomsoj@mcmaster.ca

McMaster University

Related Aggression Articles from Brightsurf:

Should I run, or should I not? The neural basis of aggression and flight
Researchers in the Gross group at EMBL Rome have investigated the mechanism behind defensive behaviour in mice.

Most dentists have experienced aggression from patients
Roughly half of US dentists experienced verbal or reputational aggression by patients in the past year, and nearly one in four endured physical aggression, according to a new study led by researchers at NYU College of Dentistry.

Swans reserve aggression for each other
Swans display more aggression to fellow swans than other birds, new research shows.

Group genomics drive aggression in honey bees
Researchers often study the genomes of individual organisms to try to tease out the relationship between genes and behavior.

How experiencing traumatic stress leads to aggression
Traumatic stress can cause aggression by strengthening two brain pathways involved in emotion, according to research recently published in JNeurosci.

New insights into how genes control courtship and aggression
Fruit flies, like many animals, engage in a variety of courtship and fighting behaviors.

Two hormones drive anemonefish fathering, aggression
Two brain-signaling molecules control how anemonefish dads care for their young and respond to nest intruders, researchers report in a new study.

Solitude breeds aggression in spiders (rather than vice versa)
Spiders start out social but later turn aggressive after dispersing and becoming solitary, according to a study publishing July 2 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Raphael Jeanson of the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France, and colleagues.

Interparental aggression often co-occurs with aggression toward kids
Parents in the midst of a psychologically or physically aggressive argument tend to also be aggressive with their children, according to researchers at Penn State.

Familiarity breeds aggression
Aggressiveness among animals may increase the longer individuals live together in stable groups.

Read More: Aggression News and Aggression Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.