Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice

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Prevalence and correlates of aggression among psychiatric in-patients at Jos University Teaching Hospital

DC Chukwujekwu, PC Stanley


Objective: The study was designed to determine the prevalence of aggression and clinical factors associated with aggression among psychiatric in-patients at Jos University Teaching Hospital. This will help create a good knowledge base about management of these patients.
Materials and Methods: All admitted psychiatric patients between December, 2005, and February, 2007, that met the ICD-10 criteria for a specific clinical diagnosis were included. The modified overt aggression scale was subsequently used to assess the type and severity of aggression. Additional information was obtained through a self-designed questionnaire containing sociodemographic and psychiatric illness variables.
Results: A total of 300 subjects satisfied the inclusion criteria, but only 298 were assessed because two patients absconded from the wards during the study period. The prevalence of aggression in this study was 19.5%. Of the 58 aggressive patients, 35 (21.7%) and 23 (16.8%) were male and female, respectively. Schizophrenic patients (31%) exhibited aggression more than any other diagnostic category. Most of the aggressive behavior occurred without provocation (63.3%). Aggression among psychiatric patients was associated with a history of previous acts of aggression and delusion of persecution.
Conclusions: Aggression is a significant clinical problem in psychiatric facilities. Consequences of aggression among psychiatric patients can be far reaching for the mental health worker. More longitudinal studies should be carried out among specific diagnostic categories of psychiatric patients to determine factors associated with aggression in each.
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