Patterns Of Aggression Among Psychiatric In-Patients At The Jos University Teaching Hospital

  • DC Chukwujekwu
  • PC Stanley
Keywords: Aggression, provocation, psychiatry


Aggression in the form of violence has been reportedly associated with a variety of psychiatric diagnoses, and in some cases, serious consequences have resulted form such assault. The study was aimed at determining the ranges and target of aggressive behaviour among Psychiatric in-patients at Jos University Teaching Hospital. All consecutive admitted patients were included in the study after fulfilling the ICD – 10 (World Health Organization, 1993) criteria for a specific clinical diagnosis. The Modified Overt Aggression scale was subsequently used to assess the type and severity of aggression. Additional information was derived through a self – designed questionnaire by the author containing socio demographic and psychiatric illness variables. A total of 300 subjects satisfied the inclusion criteria for the study period which spanned over one year. However, only 298 patients were assessed because 2 patients absconded from the wards during the study period. Verbal aggression was the commonest (35.2%), followed by physical aggression (31.3%). The proportions of auto-aggressive incidents and aggression against property were (9.4%) and 24.2%) respectively. Moderate aggression occurred more frequently than the other levels of aggression; however mild physical aggression was more common than the other levels of physical aggression. Mild aggression was commoner among females (52.7%) while moderate and severe aggression were exhibited more by the male patients (43.8% and 26.0%) respectively. Most of the aggressive behaviour occurred without provocation (63.3%) and patients' relations were the commonest target of attack (31.3%). Aggression remains a problem in Psychiatric practice. Pro-active steps are called for, to save patients and care givers alike from the physical and psychological consequences of such events.

Keywords: Aggression, provocation, psychiatry

Journal of Medicine in the Tropics Vol. 10 (1) 2008: pp. 7-13

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eISSN: 2276-7096