What is it about?

We examined PTSD symptoms in a sample of 633 clinical staff who provided direct day-to-day care for patients. Staff on forensic units (22%) were twice as likely as non-forensic staff (11%) to meet the screening cut off for PTSD. Forensic staff were more likely to be assaulted, threatened, or injured while restraining a patient. These critical events significantly increased the risk of PTSD, but chronic workplace stress and workload added to the risk. This study offers a snapshot of the more adverse work environment and associated risks faced by clinical staff on forensic units compared with non-forensic settings.

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Why is it important?

Given the growing attention to work-related PTSD, it is important to explore aspects of the workplace environment that can affect PTSD symptoms among the nurses and other mental health professionals who work in our psychiatric hospitals. This study points to workplace characteristics that could be changed to mitigate staff PTSD. Further research should explore what other factors can affect or reduce the PTSD burden for psychiatric workers.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Workplace characteristics of forensic and nonforensic psychiatric units associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms., Psychological Services, November 2021, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/ser0000405.
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