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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Violence in the schools: Teachers at risk

Susan G. Gerberich, PhD, Nancy M. Nachreiner, PhD, MPH, Andrew D. Ryan, MS, Timothy R. Church, PhD, Patricia M. McGovern, PhD, MPH, Mindy S. Geisser, MS, Gavin D. Watt, BS, Denise M. Feda, MS, Evette Pinder, MPH, and Starr K. Sage, MPH. Reg Inj Prev Res Center/Center Violence Prev and Control, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Mayo Mail Code 807, 420 Delaware St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, 612-625-5934, gerbe001@umn.edu

While school violence has been identified as a problem among students, little is known about violence against teachers. A two-phase study was implemented to determine the magnitude and consequences of physical assault (PA) and non-physical violence (NPV) and risk factors for PA in randomly selected state-licensed, working kindergarten-grade 12 educators (n = 6,469). Phase 1 (mailed 12-month retrospective survey) collected information about demographics, personal characteristics, and violent occurrences and consequences; Phase 2 (mailed case-control survey) collected exposure data: activities, others in the environment, school infrastructure and administration, and community socioeconomic status. Cases (n=395) reporting at least one PA are questioned about exposures in the month before and during the incident; controls (n=1185), are questioned about exposures on a randomly selected working month from all months during the study period. Potentially confounding variables are selected for multiple logistic regression from directed acyclic graphs and re-weighted to adjust for potential non-response and unknown eligibility biases. From initial results (78% response), rates per 100 persons per year were: PA, 8; NPV, 35. Rates for the subcategories of NPV included: threat, 16; verbal abuse, 29; harassment, 3; bullying, 9. Perpetrators were primarily: students, colleagues, and parents. Consequences included treatment: PA, 21%, NPV, 9%-18%; restricted activity: PA, 12%, NPV, 12%-19%; and change in work status: PA, 11%, NPV, 15%-28%. Among the NPV events, the highest percentages were for bullying. This unique study provides new knowledge that identifies the magnitude and consequences of violence experienced by teachers; identifying associated risk factors is integral to intervention development.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Violence, Workplace Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Handout (.ppt format, 628.0 kb)

Occupational Health and Safety Topics

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA