Factors contributing to work-related violence: a systematic review and systems perspective

Dianne M. Sheppard, Sharon Newnam, Renée M.St Louis, Mark S. Perrett

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background & Objectives: Work-related violence is widespread, occurs across industries / occupations, has detrimental effects on physical and mental health of workers and clear implications for the workplace system. Despite this, there is limited understanding of the broad range of contributing factors. This systematic review identifies factors contributing to WV and adopts a systems thinking framework (Rasmussen's Risk Management Framework, 1997) to map across the workplace system. Methods: A systematic search across 6 databases (MEDLINE, PubMed, AMED, EmCare, SCOPUS, and PsycINFO) was conducted using keywords that specified the setting (workplace), topic (risk factors for WV), and study design of interest. The search was limited to workers > 18 years of age, and articles published in English from 2010 to July 2020. Results: The search retrieved 1,286 articles. Following the application of eligibility criteria, a total of 120 articles were included, the majority of which were rated as moderate methodological quality (59%). The vast majority of articles were within healthcare. When mapped across the workplace system the highest percentage of factors were at the Frontline staff level, followed by Governance and Administration, and Operations Management. Conclusion: This study represents the first step in gaining a comprehensive understanding of the system of factors contributing to WV. Findings suggest more attention should be given to sectors outside of healthcare such as the public service, with an identified need for WV intervention. The findings of this study can be used to inform the development of targeted intervention to reduce WV through systemic change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105859
Number of pages13
JournalSafety Science
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Occupational health and safety
  • Risk management
  • Systematic review
  • Systems thinking
  • Work-related violence
  • Workplace safety

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