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January 1982

Battery Incidents and Batterers in a Maximum Security Hospital

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass (Dr Dietz); and the Department of Psychiatry, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (Dr Rada).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1982;39(1):31-34. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1982.04290010009002

• Of 638 reported assaultive and disruptive incidents in 1979 in a maximum security hospital, 221 (34.6%) were batteries. Whether an incident was a battery or not was a function of time and location. Preludes to battery were noted by staff in only 23.1% of cases and were high-frequency behaviors with low predictive value. Impact and injury to patients and officers occurred through both batteries themselves and efforts to subdue the batterer. With length of hospitalization controlled, the distributions of preadmission criminal charges were not significantly different between batterers and controls. Policies that alter patterns in the timing and location of interaction among patients and in the response of officers or other personnel to batteries in progress offer promise for reducing incident and injury rates.