Public knowledge, attitudes, and intention to act violently, with regard to violence directed at health care staff [2020]


Workplace violence in a health care setting is a widespread phenomenon•

The phenomenon has not been examined deeply from the perception of the public•

The public perceives violence toward health care teams as a negative phenomenon•

Men having a higher tendency to justify and support violent behavior•

Violent behavior explained by perception of justifiable reasons for violence.



Violence directed at health care staff is widely prevalent. Few studies have explored public attitudes regarding violence against health care staff.


To examine the Israeli public’s attitudes regarding violence against health care staff and their intention to act violently in various health care settings.


A cross-sectional study among 609 adult participants used a self-report questionnaire. The questionnaire dealt with attitudes regarding violence toward health care staff and presented the participants with three scenarios of violence in a health care setting. Logistic regression was conducted to explore variables that may explain the public’s intentions to act violently.


The participants expressed condemnation of violence toward health care staff. Men displayed more violent attitudes than women. Participants who justified violence and were supportive of violent behavior displayed significantly more intentions to act violently.


Actions taken to eliminate violence in the health system must be based on cooperation between health policymakers, health care workers, and the public.

Anat Amit Aharon RN, MAH, PhD., Sigalit Warshawski RN, PhD., Michal Itzhaki RN, PhD
Nursing Outlook, Volume 68, Issue 2, March–April 2020