|dc.description.abstract||Purpose of Study: Research on psychiatric nurses’ attributions about patient
aggression has so far focussed on attributions made at one point in time in response to
one stimulus (vignette or real account of patient aggression). To date, no research has
been conducted on how new information influences attributions made; on investigating
differences in attributions in different settings; and there is inconsistent evidence
regarding the impact of previous exposure to aggression. This research therefore seeks
to rectify some of these gaps. This study will examine the impact of new information;
the effect of incident setting; and previous exposure to aggression upon attributions
made by psychiatric nurses about patient aggression. Investigation is also made into
further examining the relationships between attributions, previous exposure to
aggression, general health, and burnout; and how these relate to nurses’ acceptance or
avoidance of their distressing experiences.
Methodology: A mixed design was employed. A repeated measures design tested the
effect of new information (history of aggression, diagnosis of schizophrenia, and
substance misuse) upon attributions of locus, control, and stability, measured on a
seven-point scale. The experimental stimulus was a vignette. Each participant was
randomly assigned one vignette depicting an incident of aggression set either in a work
or non-work setting (independent samples design). Five questionnaires were also
completed: the General Health Questionnaire, the Acceptance and Action
Questionnaire, the Maslach Burnout Inventory, the Exposure to Aggression and
Violence Scale, and the Impact of Patient Aggression upon Carers Scale. Attributions
were correlated with these measures.
Results: A significant effect of new information about history of aggression and
diagnosis of schizophrenia was found for attributions of control, but not locus or
stability. Locus and stability attributions were affected by the incident setting. No
effect of previous exposure to aggression was found on attributions. Several significant
correlations were detected. The measure of nurses’ acceptance or avoidance of
distressing experiences correlated more frequently with the other measures in
comparison to attribution ratings.
Conclusions: The impact of new information was not as large as expected. This may
be related to methodological issues but consideration is given to other explanations.
Calls for nurse training to include consideration of environmental and personal
influences (including attitudes and self-awareness) are outlined.||en