Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 7 Issue 5 (December 1997), Pages 329-428

Violence in the community—a study of violence and aggression in homelessness and mental health day services (pages 377-387)


This study examined violence and aggression in five agencies providing day services in homelessness or mental health. Incident reporting was used to test the hypotheses that aggression is associated with alcohol problems, drug use, mental disorder, homelessness, history of violence, age and sex. Agency policies and patterns to aggressive incidents were explored. Three agencies provided a sufficient number of incidents for analysis (involving 30 ‘aggressors’). A history of violence was associated with aggression in all three agencies; alcohol problems, drug use and younger age were associated with aggression in at least one agency; no association was found for mental disorder, homelessness or sex. A degree of pattern to incidents could be discerned, with drink or drugs often involved, and exercises of authority or intervention in client altercations being particularly likely to precede aggression towards staff. A variety of incidents were reported, from verbal arguments to threats with a knife and serious physical assault. © 1997 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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