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Occupational violence against dental professionals in southern Nigeria

CC Azodo
EB Ezeja
EE Ehikhamenor


Objective: To determine the prevalence of workplace violence in Oral healthcare centres against Nigerian dental professionals. Methods: A questionnaire-based cross-sectional survey of 175 randomly selected dental professionals working in Oral healthcare centres of University Teaching Hospitals in Southern Nigeria was conducted. Results: The survey response rate was 78.9%. The respondents were dentists (58.0%), dental nurses (18.1%), dental technologists (12.3%), dental therapists (8.0%) and dental record officers (3.6%). The prevalence of violence in Nigerian Oral healthcare centres was 31.9%. There was no statistically significant difference in the prevalence of violence against dentist and dental auxiliaries. Violence was often associated with long waiting time (27.3%), cancellation of appointment (13.6%), outcome of patient’s treatment (11.4%), alcohol intoxication (9.1%), psychiatric patient (6.8%,) patient’s bill (4.5%) and others (27.3%). Non-physical violence in form of loud shouting (50.0%) threat (22.7%), sexual harassment (6.8%) and swearing (2.3%) constituted the majority while physical violence in form of bullying and hitting constituted the remaining 18.2%. The main perpetrators of the violence were patients (54.5%) and patient’s relatives/friends (18.2%). The expressed impact of violence among the respondents include fear (18.2%), impaired job performance (15.9%), psychological problems (13.6%) and off duty (9.1%). No impact was declared by 43.2% of respondents. Conclusion: The prevalence of workplace violence in Oral healthcare centres against dental professionals in Southern Nigeria was significant and had a substantial effect on dental professionals’ well-being thus necessitating urgent attention.

Keywords: Occupational violence, oral healthcare, dentist, dental auxiliaries.

African Health Sciences 2011; 11(3): 486 - 492