Objective: To determine the likely impact of aggression from internal sources (co-workers) and external sources (patients, patients’ relatives or carers and others) on Australian medical clinicians in the previous 12 months.
Design and setting: An exploratory, descriptive study using cross-sectional survey design, conducted in the third wave of the Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life longitudinal survey (1 March 2010 to 30 June 2011). Participants: 9449 Australian clinical medical practitioners, comprising 3515 general practitioners and GP registrars, 3875 specialists, 1171 hospital nonspecialists and 888 specialists in training.
Main outcome measures: Logistic regression was used to determine associations between workplace aggression exposure and intrinsic job satisfaction, satisfaction with life and self-rated health.
Results: In fully adjusted models, exposure to internal aggression was negatively associated with intrinsic job satisfaction (odds ratio [OR], 0.59; 95% CI, 0.53–0.66), satisfaction with life (OR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.60–0.76) and self-rated health (OR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.77–0.96). Exposure to external aggression was also negatively associated with intrinsic job satisfaction (OR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.67– 0.84), satisfaction with life (OR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.78–0.98) and self-rated health (OR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.74–0.92).
Conclusions: The likely impact of workplace aggression on clinician wellbeing may extend to adverse consequences for care quality, safety and access. More concerted efforts to prevent and minimise workplace aggression are required.